A new non-profit YouTube channel created specifically for Ukrainian children displaced by the war will launch across the UK and Europe this summer.
Featuring up to 200 hours of Ukrainian and British content, Sunflower TV has been designed to offer entertainment and respite for the children of Ukrainian refugees who have been forced to flee their homes. Nearly two thirds of Ukrainian children have been displaced as a result of the war.
Launching on 1st July, initially with about 50 episodes, Sunflower TV will include a range of dubbed British children’s programmes such as Peppa Pig, Go Jetters, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, Thomas & Friends, Mr Bean: The Animated Series, Jojo and Gran Gran, and Kit and Pup. The channel will also feature shows produced by Ukrainian producers with titles like Brave Bunnies and Eskimo Girl.
Co-ordinated by PACT, the UK trade body representing the UK’s screen sector, a range of organisations have pulled together to set up the dedicated channel offering programmes for young Ukrainian children who now find themselves living in the UK and Europe as a result of the war and children still in Ukraine.
PACT’s Chief Executive John McVay said: “It’s difficult to imagine the trauma Ukrainian children have suffered as a result of being cruelly uprooted from their homes and communities only to find themselves thousands of miles away living in a country where nothing is familiar.
“Hopefully Sunflower TV can go just a little way in providing them with some kind of light relief or distraction to take their minds off the terrible experiences they’ve been through, even if only momentarily.”
The Ukrainian Institute London is one of many Ukrainian organisations supporting the initiative, providing hands-on advice about how to support the needs of Ukrainians arriving in the UK, and a key principle of the channel is that Ukrainian kids should have free access to enjoy popular UK TV shows – but in their native tongue.
Director of the Ukrainian Institute London, Dr Olesya Khromeychuk, said: “Millions of
Ukrainian families have been displaced as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
“Children who have lost their homes, friends, and relatives will certainly benefit from having at least some sense of familiarity by being able to access materials in their native language”.
“And it is important that children don’t feel their own language is being drowned out as they
start rebuilding their lives away from home.”
Olga Korol was forced to flee the war and is now focussing her efforts on helping the children and women of Ukraine.
Olga said: “Ukrainian children are now experiencing a very cruel war, a war that will change their lives forever. To support the future of Ukraine and Ukrainian children, a special YouTube channel has been created. The content has been lovingly and carefully selected by some of the best media professionals in the UK with the involvement of child psychologists and Ukrainian mothers. This special YouTube channel will be a wonderful gift for Ukrainian children, a guide to the world of childhood, new knowledge, talents and dreams. See you on Sunflower TV!”
The project has received pan-industry support from a range of key organisations in the creative industries including production companies, broadcasters, distributors and content creators both in the UK and in Ukraine. Organisations involved include: Aardman, All3Media; Banijay; BBC and BBC Studios; Channel 4; Channel 5’s Milkshake!; S4C; Entertainment One; FILM.UA, Fremantle; Glowberry; ITV and ITV Studios; Little Dot Studios; Mattel; Paramount and Nickelodeon; Sky; Starlight Media in Ukraine; STV and YouTube.
More content, such as Enjie Benjy, will continue to be added after the 1stJuly launch date, including additional shows aimed at six to 11-year-olds, increasing to around 200 hours, available for Ukrainian pre-teens in the UK and across Europe.
Other organisations are also urged to make contact if they have content they can offer towards to the new channel.
John McVay added: “Everyone involved has given up their time and rights to their content for nothing and I’m hugely grateful to the support and enthusiasm all parties have shown in making this happen. It really shows that the creative industries can be a force for good.
“The most important thing is to get Sunflower TV up and running and to make sure Ukrainian families in the UK are aware of this resource for their children.”