Plans to house Ukrainian refugees at Linlithgow facility continue

Plans for the Low Port Centre to house refugees, which were backed by a Ukrainian dentist from Linlithgow whose parents are still living in the war-torn country, have been played down.

By Kevin Quinn
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 6:00 am

Anastasia Martin (42), who lives and works in the town, had previously called on the council to open the former outdoor education centre to house 15 families fleeing her war-torn homeland.

Speaking about the latest on helping refugees who have arrived here, she said: “In Linlithgow the help and response was absolutely overwhelming. The first families have started to arrive and settle. They are all shaken by the experience.

“Now Linlithgow has a Facebook community of nearly 500 members, all working and helping Ukrainian refugees. We had a charity event at White Dove coffee.

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Anastasia's parents Luda (69) and Viktor (76) Rozovenko, who lived under Russian occupation near Chernihiv.

“Low Port Centre is coming along with West Lothian Council doing paperwork and then the accommodation will need to be prepared as it was a while since it was lived in.

"It will take some time but this is a major project which we were anticipating will take some time, but it will be rewarding.”

However, a West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “The Low Port Centre is leased to West Lothian Leisure and is currently subject to an Asset Transfer Request, which would remove it from council ownership.

“The Low Port Centre has been out of use for the past year and the building would require significant resource and time to enable it to be in an appropriate condition to accommodate families.

The Low Port Centre in Linlithgow.

“Given the layout, facilities and room sizes, it would not be suitable at all for families, or for those requiring additional support needs unfortunately. It is the case that more suitable accommodation through the Homes for Ukraine scheme is already in place within West Lothian, to provide an immediate short-term housing solution for families from Ukraine.

“We continue to liaise with Cosla regarding the need for group and shared accommodation, and there have been no formal requests received at this time.”

Meanwhile, Anastasia’s parents, Luda (69) and Viktor (76) Rozovenko, have been liberated, after Russian troops left the village near Chernihiv where their holiday home is, which they fled to from Kyiv at the start of the conflict.

"My mum and dad had the most horrible time this last 50 days of war, from leaving Kyiv at night under explosions of bombs, to trying to survive in a cellar for three weeks being bombed twice a day.

The family together back home in Ukraine during happier times, with Anastasia pictured, in pink t-shirt in front row.

"The winters are much colder in Ukraine, with snow at this time of the year and this combined with lack of food and proper heating in the house makes every day a survival.

"A couple of weeks ago Russian troops retreated and left behind mines everywhere, in the fields, roads, doors, washing machines, toys, under dead bodies.

"This past week my mum and dad could hear constant explosions – Ukrainian soldiers deactivating mines.

"They have now had the first food deliveries – humanitarian aid from Europe: flour, rice, macaroni, sugar, butter, tea, lentils.

“The country is trying to return back to normality, many people returning to Kyiv, schools and universities restarted education online.”