We have all been affected by the terrible news that comes out of the Ukraine on a daily basis. The plight of the refugees in particular has been particularly hard to assimilate, especially as our Governments response has appeared to be somewhat bureaucratic. Nevertheless, there are ways in which the Fencing community has now been able to help. With the help of British Fencing and the Ukrainian Fencing Federation, a number of families with fencing sons and daughters have already arrived here in the UK and have been accommodated. One special lady Sian Beautyman who is an épée mum, has been helping to coordinate some of these families with siblings who are épéeists and are in the UKR Junior and Cadet teams and used to training in Kiev 5-6 days a week! I will let you read her email to me below:
I have been liaising with the Ukrainian Fencing Federation to help try and find homes for Ukrainian fencers who want to come here under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
We have thankfully so far been able to find homes for 4 families and have others in process.
There are two issues that are making the finding of hosts difficult:
1) The fencers (all under 18) are used to training 5 or 6 days a week
2) Finding hosts with the appropriate number of spare bedrooms available in an area where they can access competitive fencing.
In London we are lucky enough to have clubs like Knightsbridge fencing club and the Leon Paul centre where fencing can be accessed most days and the standards are high, but the issue is that in London very few people are likely to have two spare bedrooms. There are two families in particular that Im struggling with as they consist of a mother and two daughters and that means they must be housed in two rooms.
I have spoken with Sian at length and I am sure that there could be some of our members living in or around London who might be able to help. I realise that this is a serious commitment the families could be here for upwards of 6 months before returning to UKR or moving to a new home but these fellow épéeists deserve the best we can offer.
If you feel that you can offer accommodation for these two families in particular or need to know more, please contact either myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sian Beautyman (email@example.com) directly.
Lawrence Burr OBE
The Epée Club