Ukrainian school helps preserve culture

Amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Ukrainians in Bristol have taken a step to preserve  their cultural heritage by establishing a school.

The initiative aims to ensure that future generations pass down and cherish Ukrainian traditions and language.

The Bristol Ukrainian School opened its doors on May 25 at the Ukrainian Hub at Westbury-on-Trym Methodist Church on Westbury Hill. Very much regarded as an ‘inclusive church’, the Methodist Church has held a Ukrainian Hub every Wednesday since hostilities began for refugees to learn English and integrate into the community. So it was fitting that the church would also provide the premises for the school and its young members. 

Antonina Grebeniuk, the school’s founder, said: “This initiative marks an exciting moment for our Ukrainian community. Our aim is to create an enriching environment where children can immerse themselves in the beauty of Ukrainian heritage. Through lessons and playful activities, they will learn about traditions, history, and language, all while connecting with peers who share their native tongue. 

The Ukrainian School Bristol has formed a partnership with the Ukraine Aid and Welfare Charity, also founded by Antonina and trustees William Maude-Roxby, Tetiana Bezsmertna, and Oleksandra Vereshchagina.

William Maude-Roxby said: “We are thrilled to witness the pride and joy that children experience when communicating in their own language. Our school serves as a vital hub for students to connect with their peers and maintain a strong bond with their cultural heritage. 

“It’s truly inspiring to see the positive impact on their sense of identity and community. But the Ukrainian School is not our only project that needs funding. There are other urgent and heartbreaking causes, such as the plight of premature babies in Ukraine who desperately need our support.”

The school is staffed by volunteers, many of whom are recent immigrants and refugees from Ukraine. These volunteers bring with them a deep understanding of Ukrainian culture and a passion for educating the younger generation. The curriculum is designed to be engaging and interactive, with a strong emphasis on storytelling, folk music, and traditional crafts.

Established as part of the educational aims of Ukraine Aid and Welfare, the school is keen to attract further volunteers, and would also welcome support from local businesses interested in ensuring its continued success. For further information, please see