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North Wales solicitor supports Ukrainian families amid war crisis

North Wales solicitor supports Ukrainian families amid war crisis


Debbie Owens of Gamlins Law provides shelter and aid to Ukrainian families, supporting them with vital supplies and accommodation

A solicitor from a leading North Wales law firm, Gamlins Law, is making a significant difference in the lives of two Ukrainian families affected by the ongoing war. Debbie Owens, a highly experienced Child Law specialist, and her husband Robin have been hosting a Ukrainian mother, Luda, and her three children, Yan (10), Zhan (9), and Emma (7), for nearly two years. Additionally, the couple coordinates essential supplies for another family still residing in Kiev.

Debbie and Robin's humanitarian efforts began shortly after the war broke out in February 2022. "I was watching the lunchtime news at the start of the war and found it heartbreaking how families were being separated," said Debbie. Motivated by the plight of these families, they decided to offer their home through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. With their own children grown up and moved out, they had the space to accommodate a family in need.

The Owens have integrated Luda's family into their community in Whitchurch, Shropshire, where the children attend local schools while continuing their Ukrainian studies in the evenings. This dual education ensures they stay connected to their homeland and can seamlessly transition back to their schools in Ukraine when it becomes safe to return.

Beyond providing accommodation, the Owens are deeply involved in coordinating aid packages for another family in Kiev. They collect donations of clothes, shoes, toiletries, medicines, sanitary items, candles, bedding, tea, and coffee from friends, family, and colleagues. These items are then boxed and shipped to Ukraine weekly, often arriving within days. "It's a little bit like a jumble sale," Debbie explains. "Some people donate money, while others drop off various items that we then box up on a Friday and, usually, by Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week they have arrived in Ukraine."

The Owens' efforts are supported by a network of generous donors, including Debbie's colleagues at Gamlins Law and members of the local community. This collective support is crucial, especially when the families in Ukraine make specific requests, such as for popcorn, which provides comfort during long hours spent in air raid shelters.

Debbie emphasizes the profound impact of their work: "It makes you realise how lucky we are and helping out in the way we are is the least we can do. We are also hugely grateful for the generosity of everyone who has donated money and items, from my colleagues at Gamlins Law through to people in my local community. It’s a real team effort."

Gamlins Law, with offices in Rhyl, Ruthin, Denbigh, Mold, Abergele, and Holywell, stands as a testament to the power of community and compassion in times of crisis