In 1946, at the end of the Second World War, Ukrainian ex-patriot's within Great Britain founded the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain ('the Association').
The Association was founded to promote and support the interests of the Ukrainian Community within the UK and is currently the largest representative body for Ukrainians and those of Ukrainian descent.
The Huddersfield Branch of the Association formed in 1948, meeting initially at Lindley Liberal Club. It is estimated that there were 250 Ukrainian exiles in Huddersfield, many exiled not only from their oppressed homeland, but also from their families, yet they chose to sacrifice in order to live in a free country.
In 1956, the Association, now with approximately 170 members purchased their first premises within Huddersfield, a large house in Trinity Street.
The Association was not just a social organisation, but also 'a registered mutual aid and benefits organisation for all Ukrainians in Great Britain based on self-reliance and fraternal co-operation.'
As well as the Association, several other organisations also met at the Trinity Street house, this included the Association of Ukrainian Youth (an equivalent to Boy Scouts) and an ex-soldiers organisation, as well as the Association of Ukrainian Women. There was also a Saturday afternoon school, at which children were instructed in the Ukrainian language, literature, history and geography. Although the children knew nothing but English schools and the English way of life, their parents were determined to pass on to them the Ukrainian culture.
Due to the increasing size of the Ukrainian community, the Association sought to purchase new premises. In 1965 the Association received a number of loans to fund the purchase of premises at 7 Edgerton Road. These loans came not from the bank, but were provided in small amounts from the individual members of the Ukrainian community living in Huddersfield.
The new premises provided the space for the Association to continue promoting the interests of the Ukrainian community as well as allowing church services to be held in native tongue within the heart of the Ukrainian community.
Today, the Association in Huddersfield remains at 7 Edgerton Road, continuing to promote the interests and values set out over 50 years ago as well as bringing the story of Ukrainians in Great Britain to the wider community. Third generation Ukrainians still attend classes learning the Ukrainian language, with traditional events and activities continuing to be held within the Association.
Though the numbers within the community have reduced, the spirit continues to remain strong and the key basis of self-reliance and fraternal co-operation continues within the Ukrainian Community of Huddersfield.