A YOUNG entrepreneur who moved to the Cotswolds from Ukraine has set up a new venture to help her family 'rise from the ashes'.

Alina Marukhno fled her apartment in Enerhodar leaving everything behind apart from her dog, laptop and documents when the war started in Ukraine at the beginning of 2022.

When she arrived in the Cotswolds she moved in with a host family in Fairford but now lives in a house in Lechlade with her parents, siblings, grandparents, dog and cat. 

The 22-year-old didn't speak English so decided immerse herself in the language by working at Lynwood & Co Fairford café and quickly picked up some phrases through interactions with the customers.

When Nick Hunt, of Cotswold Lakes Brew Co, found out that the keen barista dreamt of owning her own coffee shop he made it his mission to help make this a reality.

The pair met through Cirencester Business Launch Support - a scheme launched by a group of successful business people from the Cirencester area which offers support to anyone who needs a helping hand to get a businesses idea off the ground.

Mr Hunt saw potential in Alina's proposal, The Phoenix Café, so said she could use the Cotswold Brew Co Taproom to sell delicious Ukrainian cakes and coffees three mornings a week. 

Alina's best seller at the moment is the honey cake which is made by her mother and includes several layers of hazelnut meringue and rum-infused butter cream.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Honey cake - Phoenix Cafe's best seller Honey cake - Phoenix Cafe's best seller (Image: Phoenix Café)

The entrepreneur also loves doing latte art and is known for her signature phoenix design. 

Alina said: "I left Ukraine with nothing but my laptop, dog and documents.

"Our whole lives were turned upside down when the war started and when we moved to the UK we all had to start our lives again from scratch.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Alina making coffeeAlina making coffee (Image: Phoenix Café)

"That is why I wanted to name the business The Phoenix Café, because it symbolises how we are rebuilding our lives and rising from the ashes. 

"It was really difficult not knowing the language at first but everyone in Fairford and the surrounding area has been really welcoming and have wanted to help us.

"I love being surrounded by the beautiful countryside and have no intention to leave and go back to Ukraine."

Mr Hunt said: "When I first met Alina I could see that this is something she was really passionate about.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Coffee at the Phoenix Café Coffee at the Phoenix Café (Image: Phoenix Café)

"It is a family business, and the kind of coffee and food they are offering is really unique so there is definitely a gap in the market for it.

"The taproom was completely empty during the daytime so it made sense for us to have something here in the day.

"We hope that in the summer more tourists will come and try some delicious cake and coffee.

"We have also had great feedback from the locals and villagers that have come down and tried her cake, they recognise that it is something special."

The café is situated in Field Farm, Cirencester, GL7 6FE and is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 9am and 2pm.