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Christmas message from the Chairman of AUGB Manche

Dear Ukrainians in Manchester, dear members of our community!


Heartfelt greetings to you all this Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year!




As you may already be aware, 2015 was filled with various interesting events in our community. Our Ukrainian cultural center hosted a number of very big concerts. The Ukrainian band “Horpyna” from Poland visited us and played at our “Malanka”. A concert by Maria Burmaka commemorated the anniversary of the fallen heroes "Heavenly Hundred". Nina Matvienko, gave a concert to support the Ukrainian Youth Association charity event "Children of the Heroes", the ever popular Eurovision winner Ruslana gave us extraordinary uplifting and passionate performances and finally there was a concert by the mega-popular Dzidzo.


More than 2,000 Ukrainians from Manchester and the surrounding area, attended and were enthralled by these performances and we are very pleased that, thanks to the great work of a number of members of our community and AUGB Manchester committee, we were able to organize and host these wonderful events.


In addition to these concerts, we had our annual community events, the Christmas Concert, the Ukrainian Independence Day concert and we also staged the closing concert for the annual Cheetham Festival which was attended by representatives of different ethnic communities living in the area of Cheetham Hill.


The life of our community throughout the year has been very active and interesting. Earlier in the year we formed a new mixed choir named “Mriya” (Dream). The door is open to everyone who loves and wants to sing Ukrainian songs. Please join.


Our community organisations also conducted their own events:


In May, our Church of the “Dormition of the Mother of God”, marked it’s 60th anniversary with a special mass and concert. The guest of honor was Bishop Hlib Lonchyna.


The Ukrainian Youth Association very successfully conducted a fundraising Taste of Roma evening, the St Michael’s dance, Halloween and Winter Wonderland events. The youth association dance ensemble "Podilya" had several successful performances in the UK and also took part in an international dance festival in Rome, Italy.


During 2015, the Taras Shevchenko School of Ukrainian language, which is part of AUGB Manchester Cultural Centre, organised the students, teachers, parents and the community to attend concerts to celebrate the Ukrainian national bard Taras Shevchenko, Mother’s Day and St. Nicholas’s Day. There were also separate solemn commemorations to mark the anniversary of the “Chornobyl” disaster and the “Holodomor” genocide famine. We are pleased that the number of students in the school for the year increased from 63 to 80.


Our Manchester branch of the Ukrainian Scout movement “Plast” worked continually throughout the year with regular lessons and to prepare the children for the annual concerts. Each December for the last 4 years “Plast” have also traditionally arranged the “Bethlehem Flame” to be brought to our church just before Christmas. Families took the flame home for Christmas in lanterns. The flame "fills the heart of every Christian with joy, peace, hope, faith and warmth on Christmas Eve," for all members of our community.


The Petro Dnistrovyk School of Ukrainian Dancing continued weekly dance classes to train our younger dancers from the age of 4 upwards and has over 40 children registered. In addition to the annual concerts staged in our centre, the children took part in other external concerts which included a children’s International Evening in Manchester.


The AUGB representative Ukrainian Dance Ensemble "Orlyk" had 23 performances in 2015 in many regions of the UK. They took part in the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, 70th anniversary celebrations held in Edinburgh in June 2015, and also performed at an international dance festival in Spain.


Our organizations also took part in the Christmas Bazar where the Ukrainian Women’s association (OUZ) organised it’s Cafe where they sold hot drinks, delicious food and a variety of sweets. Manchester OUZ has, throughout the year, also very actively worked to help send help to our soldiers into the ATO zone. Those packages that were sent have even been shown on Ukrainian News and the work of Manchester OUZ has resonated throughout Ukraine.


Our community boasts the continued work of the volunteer group "Manchester community Volunteer Help for the Ukrainian Army". In 2015 alone, with the donations from the Ukrainian community they purchased and transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and volunteer battalions 4 vehicles and several thousand sets of military body armor, medicines, wheelchairs and crutches for wounded soldiers, and industrial sewing machines for voluntary organizations producing military uniforms in Ukraine. On their Facebook page there are many photos from the volunteer groups, thanks and awards from grateful Ukrainian soldiers who have already received and appreciated the assistance from Manchester.


We are very pleased that the concerts and events in 2015 brought many people to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre. This is our “domivka” ("our home") for all Ukrainians who are always welcome and it was nice to see our old friends and welcome new friends.


Unfortunately, at the end of the year (in Dec) thieves broke into and robbed our Cultural Centre and caused a lot of damage. Amongst other things they stole money that was collected to help orphans in Ukraine. We are very grateful to everyone who supported and helped us in this difficult time and who turned to us with warm words of sympathy and support. It was very touching and immensely appreciated, when some of our local English and Ukrainian friends got together and donated money to go to the orphan fund to replace that which was stolen. This will be transferred to the charity as soon as possible. Many thanks to Martin Gittings who organised this.


I very much hope that the new year will bring us all a lot of good news and pleasant events and occasions to meet as a community. We invite you all to take an active part in the life of our community and together build our successful future.


If you have suggestions or want to work with us for the development and prosperity of our Cultural Centre and of the whole community, please contact me at Ukrainian Cultural Centre, 31 Smedley Lane, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, M8 8XB or by email on the address given below.


Website: www.augb-manchester.org.uk


Email: holova@augb-manchester.org.uk


I wish you all a prosperous, healthy and happy 2016 with the comfort of God’s grace!


Yours sincerely,


Bohdan Rutkowskyj




Association of Ukrainians in GB


(AUGB) Manchester Branch