Aylesbury painter has offered free art club for Ukrainian refugees after her family’s own experience prompted her to help.  

Leila Ward’s free art session on May 7 at Queens Park Arts Centre in Aylesbury gives newly arrived refugee families a place to share all things common during an uncertain time.

The painful experience of the refugees rings close to home, as Leila’s own grandparents escaped the horrors of ’Holomodor’, the Soviet-made famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933, which killed millions of Ukrainians.

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Leila said: “I grew up with Ukrainian Grandparents, aunties, uncles, second cousins and friends always around me, celebrating their culture.”

She felt she had to do something to help people like her grandparents.

She said: “Art has been proven to have many positive benefits on physical and mental health - it can be used to express emotions and work through things that are difficult to articulate.

Many Ukrainian refugees have arrived to live with Bucks host families, she pointed out. 

"I hope that this art club, which will be specifically for Ukrainian refugees (children and adults), will be a place for them to connect with others in the local area, and also work through what they are going through using art.

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“I’m hoping it will be somewhere where we can also share culture, experiences, and language, and be something that will take their mind off what is going on at home, something for them to look forward to.

"It is amazing how engaging in art can transport you to a different place, during that time you are not thinking about your worries.”

Contact info@queensparkarts.com or LeilasDesigns@outlook.com.

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