Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network has been supporting refugees and asylum seekers since 2015. Now, with the arrival of Ukrainian families, we have had to step up our activities and we are lucky to have over 600 supporters who have signed up to help us.
We held an information evening in March to which 170 turned up, many of whom wanted to host a Ukrainian family. Now there are around 90 Ukrainian families that we know about being hosted here.
We run a helpdesk twice a week at the Ukrainian hub in the Ashley Centre where hosts and their guests can come and ask for advice and support. There are always Ukrainian speakers available and someone from Citizens Advice joins us too. We help find schools for the children and jobs for the adults and we help them navigate the bureaucracy of Universal Credit, to register with doctors, dentists etc. We organise events to give opportunities for families to meet each other including music evenings, trips to the seaside, picnics etc.
We feel the most important thing is for everyone learn English so that the children can progress faster at school and the adults have more opportunities to find work. We organise many free English classes each week and this summer are holding a four week intensive English Language School at St John’s in Leatherhead (who have kindly given us use of their premises at no cost).
We have a lot of information on our website (www.epsomrefugeenetwork.org) for hosts and their guests which is regularly updated.