Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is to fly the flag of Ukraine at its civic buildings in a show of solidarity, as the local government body continues to pledge its full support for those affected by the crisis.
The flag will be flown above the Braid in Ballymena, as well as Carrickfergus and Larne Town Halls, on Tuesday 24 May – a date that marks three months since Russia’s invasion.
The symbolic gesture comes amid ongoing support being provided by Council, its partners and the Mid and East Antrim community - many of whom have opened their hearts and their homes to Ukrainian people who have been forced to flee.
The Braid Town Hall in Ballymena has been designated as an assistance centre for refugees, and each week provides a full wraparound support hub for those in need.
This has attracted large numbers of Ukrainian people, with charities and community organisations delivering vital support and guidance at the venue.
Council is hosting the centre, with funding largely provided by the Department of Finance.
Back in March, Elected Members of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council unanimously backed a motion in support of the people of Ukraine.
Proposed by Councillor Keith Turner and seconded by Councillor Gregg McKeen, the motion stated:
“That Mid and East Antrim Borough Council expresses its solidarity with the people of Ukraine in light of Russian aggression and opens a venue for humanitarian aid in each of our three towns.”
Speaking this week, Cllr Turner said:
“I want to commend all our officers and our partners for mobilising immediately and rallying behind the people of Ukraine at their time of urgent need.
“The response has been phenomenal and while there is much work still to do as a result of the ongoing brutality in Ukraine, we as a Council will continue to stand firmly at the shoulder of our friends from Ukraine.”
He added: “The people of Mid and East Antrim have been exceptional – from gathering critical supplies and resources, to opening their homes to welcome refugees into their lives. They should be extremely proud of how they have stepped up to the mark in such dire circumstances.”
Cllr Gregg McKeen said:
“Whilst we all hope and pray that the violence in Ukraine ends sooner rather than later, I have been heartened by Mid and East Antrim’s response.
“Like many, I see the carnage and suffering going on in Ukraine on television each evening, and I am thankful that we as a Council and a community can play our part in bringing some help and hope to those who need it most.”
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has published a dedicated page on its website, providing information on how citizens and businesses can support the people of Ukraine.