Bilozirya Territorial Community
The Bilozirya rural territorial community is located in Cherkasy district, Cherkasy region.
The total area of the territory is 207 square kilometres.
The population of the community is 8,977 people.
In August 2015, the Bilozirya rural territorial community was established with its centre in the village of Bilozirya. The community includes the village of Bilozirya, the urban-type settlement of Irdyn and the hamlet of Basa.
The Bilozirya rural territorial community is located in the very heart of Ukraine – in the Cherkasy region. On one side, it is surrounded by endless fields, on the other – by the massif of Cherkasy pine forest and the reserve of local importance called “Irdyn Swamp”.
The first written information about the village of Bilozirya dates back to the middle of the 17th century (markings on the map of the French military Guillaume de Beauplan, dated 1648).
An interesting feature of Bilozirya is the division of the village into sotnias (Cossack squadrons), as in the system of the Ukrainian Cossacks who mainly concentrated in Cherkasy region. There are currently 24 of them. Residents orient themselves by the number of a sotnia, rather than by the name of a street. For example: “I am from the 21st sotnia” or “I live in the 21st sotnya”.
Another historical event of the village is the grant of the Magdeburg Law in 1791, which legally established the rights and freedoms of citizens, including their right to self-government and economic activity.
In the village of Bilozirya, there is a wooden single-domed Church of the Transfiguration with a bell tower above the entrance. It was built in 1710 and then rebuilt in 1867. The church has preserved its appearance since then.
There is Irdyn Swamp, a hydrological reserve of local importance, on the territory of the community. Irdyn Swamp occupies the old channel of the Dnipro, which separated from its modern floodplain after the retreat of the glacier due to a decrease in the amount of water.
In the last few years, Irdyn Swamp has become very popular among lovers of water tourism. Currently, you can often meet groups of tourists on canoes, SUPs and kayaks here in May and June.
Economy and Welfare
The presence of a raw material base on the territory of the community gives impetus to the development of the mining industry (peat deposits), the wood processing industry (about 13 thousand hectares of forests) and the agro-industrial complex (4.58 thousand hectares of agricultural land).
In general, 76 legal entities and about 300 private entrepreneurs are registered in the Bilozirya rural territorial community. The largest of them specialize in the cultivation of grain and industrial crops, the provision of services in crop production and wholesale grain trade.
Since 2015, the community has managed to implement more than 80 projects for a total amount of about UAH 50 million. Most of the implemented projects are infrastructural.
In particular, the street lighting network in the village of Bilozirya was completely reconstructed, a 1.1 km bicycle path was laid, separate garbage collection was introduced in the community, the material and technical base of communal enterprises was updated, the premises of the local medical institution were reconstructed, and the roofs of the Culture Houses were overhauled.
Many projects have been implemented in the educational sector, including a major repair of the Bilozirya Lyceum (energy-efficient thermal sanitation), a major repair of the dining room, installation of a bicycle parking lot, purchase of school bus, modernization of the material and technical base of classrooms. This made it possible for students and teachers to feel comfortable and safe in the institution and improve the quality of education process.
Several interesting environmental, sports, tourism, and social projects have also been implemented.
The community has a modern Administrative Services Centre where clients can receive 260 types of services, including the service of drawing-up and issuing international biometric passports of Ukrainian citizens and ID cards.
Since 2017, the All-Ukrainian Irdyn Trail Run has been held annually in a picturesque place – Irdyn swamps. More than 200 participants from all over Ukraine join this sports holiday.
The community has experience in organizing work, a built-in management structure, adequate infrastructure and a good history of grants.
Community and War
February 2022 rallied the entire country, and the Bilozirya community was no exception. Each resident had and still has their own front, their own mission – to save, help, feed, treat, teach.
The community joined the volunteer movement: residents help in humanitarian headquarters, weave camouflage nets, buy ammunition, hand over food, collect funds for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, etc.
In particular, more than 200 m of nets, 100 mats and 50 sleeping bags, warm clothes, shoes and hygiene products were handed over to the military units. 3 military tarpaulin tents were handed over to military units on the front line.
A three-time hot meal was organized for mobilized and returning soldiers. Field kitchens were organized for soldiers undergoing training and education at military training grounds.
One of the examples of volunteering is the selfless work of the volunteer Maryana Babenko, who has been working since the beginning of hostilities to provide the defenders with everything they need: from the purchase of cars, thermal imagers, body armour to the delivery of clothing and food to the front lines.
Olga Prylipko, a foreign language teacher at the Bilozirya Lyceum, also joined the volunteer movement. She established international contacts with US citizen Paige Barrows, who was a volunteer in the Bilozirya community from 2010 to 2012. She spares a lot of time to socially significant projects aimed at improving the lives of internally displaced persons, low-income families of the community, and children who found themselves in difficult life circumstances.
Since March 2022, the project “Let’s open our hearts to the good” hasw been implemented by the volunteer. This made it possible to create a centre for internally displaced persons. Household appliances were purchased. Also, personal hygiene items, sportswear and shoes were bought in large quantities.
In cooperation with international humanitarian organizations, the community received first-aid kits, first aid dressing packages, and medical supplies.
The full-scale war forced the people of the occupied territories to leave their homes. The community sheltered more than 1,100 people. As of the end of September this year, 23 families of internally displaced persons received 63 units of household appliances (a joint project of UNICEF and the Association of Ukrainian Cities). The team of the Centre for the provision of social services of the Bilozirya village council worked on the implementation of this project.
The local agricultural society organizes free distribution of milk for internally displaced persons.
People of the Community
The community residents put their trust in Volodymyr Mitsuk. He has held the position of Head of the village of Bilozirya since 2010, and the position of Head of the Bilozirya rural territorial community since 2015.
Volodymyr Mitsuk has believed that all services should be provided locally, in the community since the day the community was amalgamated. It has become a priority area of activity for the executive committee’s structural units.
This includes the improvement of community infrastructure, the development of education and health care, and the expansion of the provision of social and administrative services.
Today, the Bilozirya community is an example for other communities not only in Cherkasy, but also in Ukraine.
In pursuance of the Presidential programme entitled “Gardens of Victory” and at the initiative of the head of the community, 16 plots of land were used, on which about 10 hectares of vegetable crops were planted.
In addition, the area of 3.5 hectares of the adjacent territories of three schools and a kindergarten was also used for growing vegetables. Employees of the executive committee of the village council, the Centre for Culture and Leisure, and educators of the community took an active part in growing the vegetable garden.
After the harvest, the rural territorial community gave more than 25 tons of potatoes to internally displaced persons, medical institutions of the city of Cherkasy, Cherkasy region, communities of the Zaporizhia region under occupation, the city of Kherson and for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The community, under the leadership of the Head, closely cooperates with the Polish gmina of Puhaczów, Lublin voivodeship. This cooperation gives a positive result in the cultural exchanges of delegations and the provision of equipment for fire departments.
The strategic vision of the Bilozirya rural territorial community:
– an investment-attractive community with successful entrepreneurship that effectively uses natural resources, including as alternative sources of energy;
– a community with well-developed infrastructure and a powerful agricultural sector;
– a community with safe and comfortable conditions for living and recreation, physical education and sports, a community as a tourist centre
The strategy will be achieved through the following strategic goals:
– increasing the competitiveness of the community;
– formation and development of a strong local community;
– ecological safety and preservation of the environment.
The selected strategic goals will be implemented through a system of operational goals and objectives, among which the following should be noted:
- construction, reconstruction, major and current repairs of highways and road infrastructure;
- preparation of the Comprehensive Plan for Spatial Development of the Community Territory;
- taking inventory of free agricultural land plots, community territories with industrial infrastructure for further investment promotion;
- creation of conditions for supporting enterprises of communal and cooperative form of ownership;
- ensuring fire safety of the community through the construction of the Citizens’ Safety Centre;
- ensuring public safety and security through the installation of video surveillance cameras;
- ensuring civil protection (construction of shelters in preschool and general secondary education institutions);
- construction of a sports hall and a sports ground with a workout zone in the Bilozirya Lyceum;
- overhaul of water supply and sewage systems in the village of Irdyn