Portsmouth City Council is showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine by celebrating Ukrainian Independence Day on Thursday 24 August.

To mark the occasion and support Portsmouth’s Ukrainian community the council is holding a flag-raising ceremony in Guildhall Square. The ceremony will take place in Guildhall Square from 10am. Residents from across the city are invited to attend, support and reflect.

This year marks 32 years since Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union and 18 months since the country was invaded by Russia.

The ceremony will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Tom Coles and the Ukrainian flag will be raised. There will be performances from Two Colours Ukrainian Choir and a speech from the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Steve Pitt.

Since the first families from Ukraine arrived in Portsmouth in April last year under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the council has been working with a range of partners to support families to settle in the city. The EC Roberts Centre provides the families and their hosts a caseworker to guide them through the settling-in process. This has included help setting up bank accounts, securing school places and ensuring their first months in Portsmouth are comfortable with regular visits to their homes and social events.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme is still open for applications from potential hosts. To begin the process of opening your home to families fleeing the war, visit the ‘Support for Ukrainian refugees’ webpage.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said:

“It is important that we mark Ukrainian Independence Day. It is a chance to send a message to the people of Ukraine that they have not been forgotten and that they are in our thoughts.

Over the last 18 months, families across Portsmouth have welcomed many Ukrainian refugees into their homes under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, demonstrating their support and continued solidarity.

Independence Day is a moment to celebrate Ukrainian culture, and remember those who have lost their lives, and who are still fighting for their country. I’d encourage all residents to celebrate by joining us at the event on Thursday.”

For those wanting to support the Ukrainian community, or find out more about the Homes for Ukraine scheme more information can be found on https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/services/council-and-democracy/support-for-ukrainian-refugees/