Fitness group helps Ukrainian family settle in

A FAMILY who fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine for sanctuary in the UK have enjoyed a family-friendly morning in Woking Park.

Natalia Prykhodko and her daughter Anna accepted an invitation to join the mothers and children of fitness group Squat2Fit at their regular boot camp.

FAMILY FRIENDLY – The children from the Squat2Fit group welcome, front, Natalia and Anna, in the blue top. Kim is at the back

The group’s founder, Kim Valente, said that the event was the perfect opportunity for Anna to meet local children. The Prykhodkos joined in the activities which included an Easter egg hunt for the children.

Kim had heard about the family through one of the Squat2Fit mums, whose friend Natasha had given refuge at her home in Surrey to her sister Natalia and eight-year-old Anna.

They were forced to leave Natalia’s husband, Sergei, at home in Odessa looking after her elderly parents.

“It’s terrible to think what they must have gone through and I thought it would be good to be able to help just one family,” Kim said.

ONE JUMP AHEAD – Kim leads the group in a high-spirited leap

Speaking through an interpreter who is a group member, Natalia thanked everyone involved in the day, and said that the acts of kindness shown to her were often at odds with the reserved and unemotional British people often depicted on Ukrainian television.

She said they had been very well looked after since their arrival in the UK, and was hoping that Anna would soon be accepted into a local school to continue her education.

Natalia said that it was important for both of them to learn English to help them communicate, socialise and integrate.

She added that she keeps in touch with events in Ukraine by watching television news programmes and various messaging channels

Sergei, she said, is very much missed as all they can do is stay in touch by phone, but nothing will ever separate them.

* SQUAT2FIT is staging an open-to-all fun 5k family run and umbrellathon in Woking Park at 10am on 1 May to raise funds for the Prykhodko family. Donations for the Prykhodko family can be made through www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/squat2fit

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