Ukrainian refugee Alice Kaskova helps other refugees settle in to Newcastle

Alice Kaskova is helping refugees settle into life in Newcastle after fleeing Kyiv, Ukraine in May

A refugee who fled Ukraine and arrived in Newcastle in May has turned her hand to helping others fleeing the war-torn country.

Alice Kaskova left the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and her husband, Igor, behind in what she called “the hardest thing I have ever had to do”.

Since arriving in the city, Kaskova has used her skills and experience as an ESOL teacher to help fellow refugees, teaching English and offering support to families.

She said: “Leaving my home country and my husband is the hardest thing I have ever had to do but as things got worse, he insisted I make sure I was safe.

“The couple of months I was there were terrifying, and it was so upsetting to see my country become a warzone.”

Kaskova will teach English to refugees settling into life in Newcastle

Her new role in Newcastle sees Kaskova contribute to the City of Sanctuary, providing support, advice and guidance to refugees and helping them transition into a stable life.

A new scheme under the LIFE banner will offer somewhere to live, an income, financial inclusion and employment opportunities.

Speaking of her new role and experience in the North East, Kaskova said: “It’s not easy leaving my husband behind but this part of the country is really nice, I love it.

“I will be working with refugees like me to adjust to life here, integrate here, and cope with the stress as I know some of them had a really difficult time in Ukraine.

“They are really pleased they can speak to someone in Ukrainian, they didn’t expect this. I have had a lot of positive feedback from my countrymates about British hosts.

“The only expression they can say is thank you and I would like, on behalf of them, to say thank you to the British Government and the British people for opening their hearts, and for the support and help they have given to alleviate some of the horrible experiences people have had.”

Cllr Lesley Storey, Cabinet Member for a Vibrant City at Newcastle City Council, said: “I warmly welcome Alice to the team here in Newcastle and I would like to thank her from the bottom of my heart for all she has and will do.

“She will provide essential support and guidance to other refugees in the city while also providing her first-hand feedback on how this can grow and improve.

“As a City of Sanctuary roles like Alice’s are key to helping refugees settle in the region and I am pleased to hear of the positive experiences they have had since arriving in the city.”