VOLUNTEERS from Roundwood are assisting Ukrainian refugees who are being accommodated at the Lough Dan Hostel, including a karate World Champion and a talented pianist.
Scouting Ireland has committed to offering hostel accommodation at three of its scout centres, including Lough Dan, which are traditionally used for overnight trips by scout groups.
The volunteer group ‘Road to Lough Dan’ have been helping the Ukrainian arrivals settle into their new surroundings.
So far, 19 Ukrainians are being housed at Lough Dan.
“The people of Roundwood have been so supportive,” said Anne Byrne of the Road to Lough Dan.
“At the moment we don’t really know how many more people are going to arrive because we aren’t in that information loop, but we are at the ready for any other new arrivals. People in the locality have been very generous. Music in Calary invited any of the residents of Lough Dan to attend any of their concerts, and a group from the centre attended Thursday’s concert.
“We also had similar invitations for the Irish dancing group in Roundwood and the table tennis club. Tonight (Friday) some of the Ukrainians are going to support the local GAA club. Lough Dan is around an hour’s walk away from Roundwood village, so we have been arranging transport.
“People have been very generous. We are also tied in with a similar group as ourselves in Laragh and Glendalough.
“The Ukraine Hub in Wicklow town has been a great assistance and we have been dropping some of the Ukrainians off so they can sort out their bank details.”
Eighty-two-year-old Claire Chamber has also been volunteering her time, bringing some of the refugees to and from different appointments and events.
“I drove two of the Lough Dan residents to the concert in Calary on Thursday night. They are all traumatised so we aren’t digging for any details, we are just here to help in any way we can.
“The youngest resident is 17, but there are no children staying. One of the residents is actually a karate World Champion. Quite a few local families, up to 10, have also offered to take in some Ukrainians.”
A collection for specific items required by the refugees proved highly successful, and any surplus items are donated to the Ukraine Hub in Wicklow town.
One of the Ukrainians who attended the Music in Calary concert with her mother, also happens to be a pianist, and volunteers are on the look-out for a piano she could use to practise on.
“It would be great if we could find a house within walking distance from Lough Dan with a good piano. If anyone has a working and tuned piano in their home, then we would love to hear from them,” said Anne.
Donations are also required to help with the costs of transport.
“Every morning we meet and decide what’s needed today.
"There is a once a day return bus service to Roundwood but we do need a rota of cars to transport people to and from different appointments and would welcome any donations towards the costs.”