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Ukrainian refugees make new friends at our Abbeydale Road shop

You’re a new face in a new city, so how do you get a better understanding of your new community and make new friends?

Alina Prokopenko, Tetiana Pzazubocha and Natalia Ivanenko are all living in Sheffield after fleeing the war in Ukraine.

And they have found a good way to develop a greater understanding of their new surroundings is to volunteer some of their time at our shop in Abbeydale Road.

All three explain that they also wanted to give something back to the city that is supporting them.

“I want to be as efficient and useful as possible, both to my country as a remote volunteer and donor, and to Great Britain, which has generously welcomed us,” said Alina, who added that her first experience of St Luke’s was actually as a customer.

“We left Kiev at the beginning of March last year and we had only our winter things so I asked where I could buy different clothes and things and that’s when I was told about St Luke’s,” she said.

“This was the first store I went to in Sheffield to look for something for the house since we left home with just a couple of suitcases!”

It was subsequently via a city jobs and volunteering fair that Alina, Tetiana and Natalia discovered the opportunity to give time to the chain of St Luke’s shops.

“Volunteering is my way of showing gratitude and I have met many kind, intelligent and friendly people at St Luke’s,” said Tetiana.

“Volunteering at St Luke’s shop provides me with a great opportunity to improve my English through speaking and listening practice every day.

“I have a great time volunteering at the shop and I feel like I am contributing to its amazing work, sorting through donations and preparing items for sale.

“Volunteering also helps me build my social network and it’s a great opportunity to give back to the local community and I really enjoy it.”

Alina added: I really enjoy being on this team and communicating with those who come to the store, knowing that I am useful both to those who want to donate something and to those who want to buy something or find something special.

“People united by helping each other is one of the best achievements of the humanism of our civilisation and I am glad to be part of this unity.

“We do have charity shops in Ukraine but not as many as here so now, when we go back, I will try to share in Ukraine because I really like the idea.”

To find out more about volunteering opportunities with St Luke’s visit Volunteer, call 0114 235 7639 / 0114 235 7548 or email volunteer opportunities

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