Hundreds plant sunflowers in St Mary’s churchyard in Hemel Hempstead in solidarity with Ukraine

Dacorum people came together over the Jubilee to show their support for the nation.

Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 3:58 pm

Hundreds of people in and around Hemel Hempstead joined to plant sunflowers over the Jubilee weekend in a show of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Residents were invited by Community Action Dacorum and Sunnyside Rural Trust to recycle their used coffee cups and plant flowers.

Community Action Dacorum have been supporting Ukrainian guests and the UK host families since the war started in February.

Scores of residents came to the church to plant flowers.

Aneta Wujek, refugee and migrant officer, said: “We have brought together local groups of host families to ensure they have a voice across the county”.

She added: “We have been finding offers of help and support for the families to ensure that they are not alone. Most of them are well set up and doing a wonderful job so my work becomes easier.”

The first hour was open specifically for Ukrainian guests to come and plant flowers and Cllr John Bernie, Mayor of Dacorum, lead the planting on behalf of the Borough.

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Aneta said: “It was wonderful to hear people chatting to one another in Ukrainian as they planted flowers, they were happy for a moment and able to remember friends and family back home.”

She continued: “We know that some of the guests, particularly the older ones, they speak little English and can be very isolated. Events like this make life more bearable for them.”

Over 140 sunflowers were planted by Dacorum residents and Ukrainian guests with the help of staff and volunteers from both charities. The event was supported by ASDA Watford and Hertfordshire County Council, who provided the materials.

Dr Simon Aulton, Chief Executive of Community Action Dacorum said that he was extremely proud of the charity’s work to welcome Ukrainian people into the borough.

Dr Aulton said: “This was an event where everyone could be involved and add to the beauty of the Old Town area in a way that is meaningful.

A hexagonal frame was created and biodegradable cups placed inside, which were filled with soil and seeds to grow the plants in an environmentally-friendly way.