AUGB Rochdale Branch.
The first chairman was Mr. Horishniy in 1948. Other chairmen were as follows:- prof. D. Levitsky, T. Churma, D. Oleksyshak, M. Mucha, H. Smyk, M. Kernytskyj, W. Perih, M. Novhorodnyj, M. Ostrowerha, M. Paska, W.Duchak, B. Lysnyj and at present O.Kurtianyk.
It is 65 years this year when Ukrainians began arriving in Rochdale. After a while they felt the need to organise a Ukrainian community. Within a year the AUGB was formed with 200 members. The association then began to build a community.
The first years were difficult due to lack of space. Premises had to be hired from the English community for various functions and different meetings. When cultural groups started to be formed the need arose for the association to buy their own premises. On the 19th September 1949, a committee was elected to find some premises to purchase. Funds started to be raised and in 1951 a building was purchased and the renovated in Whitehall Street. The Ukrainian community now owned their own cultural centre
The first children’s nursery was started by Mrs Maria Lukyanenko in her own home at “Roach Place” in 1950 and later moved to the new AUGB premises in Whitehall St. The parent committee was formed and then the Ukrainian school was established, which still exists today under the leadership of Maria Kopczyk.
The first parish priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church was Father Hirnyak. Originally, Masses took place at St. John’s Hall but later a church was bought on William Street and later a church house was built next to the church. In the 1970’s a bigger church was purchased on John Street. Other parish priests were fathers A. Babij, I. Hasiak and at present Father B. Lesykanycz. There were also many other visiting priests who came to serve.
To continue the cultural work and maintain a building finances were needed so in order to do this a Ukrainian Social Club was formed in 1958. Over the years chairpersons were:- P. Dzedzora, Z. Lusczanetsz, K. Mentuh, Mr. Myshczyshyn, I. Didak, M. Dmyterczuk, B. Halusczak, J. Bdzola, L. Lawrence and presently M. Kopczyk.
As community life grew it was clear that larger premises were needed and the existing building was compulsorily purchased by the town council for road widening and redevelopment. In the early 1960’s new premises on Mere Street were purchased.
In 1992 Rochdale twinned with Lviv and a committee “Friends of Lviv” was formed. This committee exists to this day and head is Ms. Anna Kecyk. Ten years later one of the town’s bridges in Rochdale was named “Lviv Bridge” and a memorial plaque was erected.
Since the regeneration of the town centre, the bridge has new surroundings were members of the community and tourists can visit.
In 2008 our Rochdale hosted the memorial torch to mark the memory of the 75th anniversary of the 1932-33 Famine. In 2009 Rochdale was the first town to erect the Holodomor monument in the memorial gardens in the town centre which was attended by special guest – among them the Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Ukrainian Ambassador and honorary guests from London and from Ukraine.
The second generation now leads the AUGB. In order to upkeep the building the premises are hired out for many functions such as birthdays, weddings, vocal nights and rock nights. This enables to keep and maintain our centre so that our culture can continue and Ukrainians of many generations can meet and feel at home.