A teenage Ukrainian refugee’s culinary ambitions have been aided thanks to a Liverpool charity that is determined to boost vocational opportunities for young people in the wider community.
Dianna Kysheniuk, 15, moved from the city of Kalush in western Ukraine to the UK amid the ongoing conflict in her home country last year, and now lives in the village of Westhead.
A passionate chef who recently finished second in a national competition featuring 14,000 chefs, Kysheniuk’s cooking has been supported by mentor James Holden and La Salle Hotel School Liverpool C.I.C, a charity that this weekend held a National Lottery funded-Croxtethvision – a special festival showcasing volunteering opportunities to young people.
And, alongside other young chefs, she was given the chance to take part in the event herself, cooking in La Salle’s state-of-the-art kitchen.
“It was very good to be honest,” said Kysheniuk, who attends Ormskirk High School.
“The school is incredible, and all the equipment was very high quality. The kitchen is special, and it was very nice to work at such a big event.
“The atmosphere was very nice; it was warm, and we had a lot of words of thanks about our very good food.
“The most popular food was a delicious dish of Ukrainian dumplings – we all enjoyed it!”
More than forty-five community projects across the UK, including La Salle, have shared over £300,000 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, to help bring communities together to celebrate Eurovision and support the Ukrainian community here in the UK.
The National Lottery, who are one of the biggest supporters of music and culture in Liverpool, have invested over £330m in 3,600 arts and heritage projects to date.
Liverpool’s historic hosting of Eurovision sees The National Lottery make further multi-million-pound contributions to arts, heritage, and community across the city.
La Salle non-executive director Josh Boyd hopes Croxtethvision – Community Volunteering Festival – not only gives young people such as Dianna a chance to show off their skills, but also bring Eurovision magic to Croxteth and highlight vocational opportunities available to young people.
He added: “Many of the main Eurovision events are taking place in the city centre and will not be accessed by people in this community.
“It is not too far geographically, but these are communities that traditionally don’t travel too far out of their local area and are financially challenged. On the face of it, we want to create a big celebration.
“The underlying aim was to ensure local organisations had a platform to come together and promote their work, and the available volunteering roles they had individually to the attendees of the event.
“It would not have been possible without the money from The National Lottery. The whole project cost £10,000, from event production to delivery.
“We wouldn’t have been able to pay for that, so at its core the funding has enabled us to ensure that we had the kit to deliver the event at this scale.”
National Lottery players raise more than £30 million a week for arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary projects across the UK; see the difference it’s making near you at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk