Newly arrived Ukrainians welcomed with open arms at seniors’ club

Released on 26th May 2022

cohealth will host an event on Thursday 26 May to welcome recently arrived Ukrainian refugees and present the new arrivals with messages of hope and handmade sunflower cards created by older clients who participate in the cohealth Essendon Adult Day Centre (EADC) program. 

The EADC program supports frail older people who are socially isolated to engage with their community through social activities and outings.  

Liane Simko, cohealth Lifestyle Support Worker said, “Our clients wanted to express how they were feeling about the war and tell the Ukrainian people that they are in our thoughts during these sad times.” 

“Our clients will present cards that they have made, and we hope they’ll bring a smile, even for a brief moment, and let the recipient know Australians care about them and want peace for Ukraine,” said Liane. 

“Handmade cards are a special way to pass on a message of hope.  The people who attend cohealth’s Essendon Adult Day Centre have varying stages of ability, so it was wonderful to see them participate so enthusiastically in the cardmaking activity.” 

Association of Ukrainians in Victoria President, Slawko Kohut, will attend the special presentation ceremony to accept the cards and distribute them to people who have recently arrived in Australia after being displaced from the Ukraine. 

Since the war began in Ukraine, 900 Ukrainian people have been re-settled in Melbourne, and the AUV have been among the organisations supporting them, including arranging English lessons and connecting them with employment opportunities. 

AUV President, Slawko Kohut, said, “The Ukrainians who have recently arrived are very grateful for the love and support they’ve received from the Australian community. But overwhelmingly they want to return to their home country and resume the peaceful life they once knew.” 

cohealth Chief Executive, Nicole Bartholomeusz, said, “Our thoughts continue to be with the people of Ukraine, just as we continue to think about people living in conflict zones all around the world. Every single person has a right to live in peace and safety.” 

The letter from cohealth clients which accompanies each handmade card reads, in Ukrainian and English:

I am a member of a senior citizens activity group in Melbourne, Australia. 

We are so very sorry and sad that you have been displaced from your homeland, your family, your friends, your peaceful life from Ukraine 

This card is made with love and wishes of peace so you can return home safely.  You are in our thoughts every day.   

With sincere, warm heart-felt sorrow and hope that you, your family and friends are safe and united soon.   

May the Doves of Peace fly over Ukraine.” 

cohealth’s Essendon Adult Day Centre offers supported activities for people aged 65+  experiencing social isolation. Funded though the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), the Essendon Adult Day Centre offers activities including games, quizzes, arts & crafts and local outings. .   Social isolation and loneliness are serious health problems that affect older adults, and the EADC programs are designed to improve social inclusion. 

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More information: or 0499 101 638

About cohealth: cohealth is a not-for-profit community health organisation that provides low-cost and free local health and support services including medical, dental, allied health, mental health, aged care and counselling, and many specialist health services across Melbourne’s CBD, northern and western suburbs as well as statewide. 


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