Ukranian refugee starts beauty business thanks to Grantham salon’s generosity
A Ukrainian refugee who fled the country with her son has started a beauty business after an act of kindness.
Natalia Chekotun fled Odessa in the south of Ukraine with her 12-year-old son Nazar in March shortly after the Russian invasion began to start a new life in Grantham.
In doing so she had to make the difficult decision to leave her husband Alexi, her eldest son Artur and other family members behind to protect her youngest son whilst they remained to protect the home they all love in Odessa.
Natalia’s sister and her brother-in-law live in Grantham and so after a difficult journey and delays with visas in Paris she and Nazar eventually arrived in the UK and are now slowly adjusting to a new life here.
A chance encounter with one of her sister’s friends Vilija Katkeciciute, who runs Art of Hair on Bridge End Road has opened up a new opportunity for Natalia to start her new life with some hope for the future.
On learning that Natalia was a cosmetologist she generously offered the opportunity to set up a wellness centre and beauty salon within the Art of Hair premises, understanding how difficult it must be for Natalia having escaped the war, left her loved ones behind and having to start afresh in a new country.
This act of kindness has given Natalia the springboard to settle into life in Grantham and to build a business for her family, and with so much uncertainty on when she can return to Ukraine and indeed if there will be a life there for her after the war it is a chance to start afresh.
Vilija has also generously allowed Natalia to use the salon rent free so that she can donate this money instead to the Disaster Emergency Committee Appeal to help the people of Ukraine.
As a cosmetologist of seven years, Natalia is qualified in providing therapeutic facelift treatments, anti-cellulite massage, lymphatic drainage massage, sports massage and a number of beauty treatments for the face and body in addition to stress reduction techniques.
Natalia said: “I have been overwhelmed by the support and kindness I have been shown since arriving in Grantham and am so grateful to Vilija.
"I’m looking forward to becoming a member of the local community, making new friends, and rebuilding the business I ran in the Ukraine before the war.”
Her new salon at Art of Hair will be opening early May and, for Natalia, will not only bring a source of income and something positive to focus on but a chance to settle into life in the UK as she awaits news of her family and old home in Odessa.
Art of Hair can be contacted on 01476 594022.