Embassy of Ukraine to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Kyiv 18:28

Ukrainians in Great Britain

There is no official statistics regarding the quantity and social composition of ethnic Ukrainians in Great Britain. Leaders of Ukrainian community organizations believe that the Ukrainian community currently amounts to approximately 30 thousand persons. These are mainly representatives of the first and second generations of the post-Second World War immigration.

Over the past few years, the Ukrainian community of Great Britain got increased due to migrant workers.

It is impossible to identify the total number of the Ukrainian citizens staying in the United Kingdom due to the lack of relevant statistics and methodology of determining this quantity, as well as because of the fact that there is no registration when people leave the country.

Citizens of Ukraine, having received permit to work in Great Britain, enjoy the same rights for the protection of their interests as the citizens of Great Britain do.

Almost 70 locations densely populated with Ukrainians have been identified on the territory of the United Kingdom. The most numerous communities live in London, Manchester, Bradford and Nottingham.

Ukrainian community organizations in Great Britain

Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB, in Ukrainian - СУБ) is the largest Ukrainian community organization in the United Kingdom. The organization lists almost 2000 members. The AUGB operates a network of 28 local branches and 19 smaller branches and sub-branches which do not have their own centre, but organise periodic events for Ukrainians in their area.

All in all, the organization owns 35 premises all over Great Britain housing Ukrainian clubs, schools of Ukrainian studies, etc. The AUGB headquarters is in London. In this building you can find the Shevchenko library and archive, and a bookshop. Also, the AUGB owns a residential care home for elderly people, “Sunderhurst Senior Living” in Chiddingfold, providing lodging for almost 30 elderly people.

The AUGB works closely with the Association of Ukrainian Former Combatants in Great Britain (AUFC, in Ukrainian - ОбВУ) and the Association of Ukrainian Women (AUW, in Ukrainian - ОУЖ) sponsoring Folk Arts Museum in Manchester.

There is also the Union of Ukrainians in Great Britain listing 350 members. When Ukraine became independent the Union presented Ukraine with a building in Edinburgh which is now the residence of the Consulate General of Ukraine. The Organization has also provided for long-term use the house where the Consular Office of the Embassy of Ukraine in London operates.

Youth organizations “Ukrainian Youth Association” (UYA, in Ukrainian - СУМ) and “Plast” (the Ukrainian Scouting movement) take an active part in public life of the Ukrainian community of Great Britain.

The Ukrainian-British City Club (UBCC) may be considered the youngest Ukrainian community organization assembling mainly Ukrainians of the fourth wave of immigration. This organization has about 500 members with individuals, businesses, representative offices, banks, corporations сo-operating with Ukraine being among them.

During the last year, the British Ukrainian Society was rather active attracting business people, academics and culture workers of Great Britain, as well as famous politicians interested in close collaboration with Ukraine.

Representatives of the Embassy of Ukraine, on an on-going basis, participate in the events organized by the Ukrainian community, host regular meetings with the representatives of the Ukrainian Diaspora, and organize joint events with the Ukrainian community organizations in Great Britain.

Social and cultural life of Ukrainians in UK

In the United Kingdom, the AUGB publishes a bilingual Ukrainian English newspaper “Ukrayinska Dumka” with the circulation of 7.5 thousand copies.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has a Ukrainian section on its web portal, where the latest news from Ukraine are published.

There are no authentic Ukrainian language TV programmes on the British TV. A lot of Ukrainians use modern means of satellite communication which provide broadcasting of TV programmes of Ukrainian channels - UT-1, Channel 5, New Channel, ICTV, 1+1 etc.

There is the Ukrainian collections section in the British Library. The section is being constantly replenished with new publications through the budget funding. A book in Ukrainian is available for a broad range of readers in the United Kingdom.

The Ukrainian community supported setting up in Great Britain the monuments to Volodymyr, the Great (Volodymyr Velyky) in London; to the Heroes of Ukraine Killed in Action in Tarasivka, near Derby; the monument to Holodomor (the artificial famine) victims in London; memorial plates near city halls in Bolton and Rochdale.

Nearly 70% of Ukrainians in Great Britain are of Greek Catholic affiliation; about 10% of Ukrainians attend Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Just like all citizens in Great Britain, the Ukrainians have the right to freedom of worship.

Ukrainian books are published in the Ukrainian publishing union. In London, a Ukrainian bookshop is operational, where you can buy modern books and periodical publications sold in Great Britain and in Ukraine.

In the United Kingdom, youth organizations “Ukrainian Youth Association” and “Plast” enjoy positive environment for preserving and developing national traditions, satisfying language and culture needs. “Plast” members organize summer camps in “Verkhovyna” dwelling, in North Wales.

Members of the “Ukrainian Youth Association” hold annual summer forums in “Tarasivka” camp near Derby. This camp is a favourite place for leisure and recreation not only for young people. Every year, on Trinity day, the Ukrainians from all over Great Britain come to the camp, to commemorate the Holiday of Heroes. This event is accompanied by ecumenical mass and concerts.

It is in “Tarasivka” that the largest in Great Britain Ukrainian festival and fair take place every year on the second Saturday of July. Not only Ukrainians but other people as well come here to taste traditional Ukrainian food, listen to Ukrainian folk music, and admire sophistication of Ukrainian embroidery and skills of Ukrainian dancers. The festival has won an outstanding popularity among the British people and representatives of other ethnic groups living in Britain.

Activities of Ukrainian national art groups: “Mriya”/Dream (Bradford), “Dnipro” (Nottingham), “Bulava”/Club (Coventry), dance groups “Metelyk”/Butterfly (Reading), “Orlyk”/Eaglet (Manchester) is the evidence of the preservation of cultural identity and traditions.

Education for Ukrainians in UK

In Great Britain, 9 Saturday schools for Ukrainian studies function, with 70 teachers working and more than 400 students studying there. In the schools, children study the Ukrainian language, history, geography and culture. Most schools operate under the auspices of the AUGB branches. The Association of Ukrainian Teachers and Educators consolidate the schoolteachers.

The School of Slavonic and East European Studies and St. Andrews University offer language courses to master the Ukrainian language and history of Ukraine.

The facilities of the Ukrainian Institute in London are used for on-going courses of the Ukrainian language. The Ukrainian Diaspora directly supports the operations of this institute.