Support for Ukraine

Welcome pack

We have put together some information for Ukrainian sponsors and guests in the Braintree District in conjunction with Essex County Council. 

The English version can be viewed on the Essex County Council website

Welcome pack

Braintree District is located in North Essex and has a population of approximately 152,000.

Geographically, we are a large district and have three main towns – Braintree, Halstead and Witham.

Below are a range of services and organisations available to you and the person or people you have sponsored.

We will be updating this list regularly, to ensure it has everything you may need, but if you have any feedback that you think would be useful, please contact us at:

Places to visit and things to do

There are lots of things you can do in and around the Braintree district.

Leisure and sports facilities

We are offering Ukrainian refugees in the Braintree district free membership at the following leisure centres for two months:

  • Braintree Sport & Health Club
  • Braintree Swimming & Fitness
  • Halstead Leisure Centre
  • Witham Leisure Centre

This free membership will allow adults and children 12+ access to the gym, swimming, courts, group exercise classes (depending on age) and outdoor pitches.

The leisure centres are run by leisure operator Fusion Lifestyle in partnership with Braintree District Council.

The two months will begin when the membership is confirmed and activated by Fusion.

To qualify for a free membership, refugees will need to provide proof of visa/permission to travel document by either visiting the leisure centre in-person or email:

Braintree Sport & Health Club
Panfield Lane

Braintree Swimming & Fitness
Charter Way
CM77 8YJ

Witham Leisure Centre
Spinks Lane

Halstead Leisure Centre
Colne Road

For more information visit the Fusion website or call 0345 260 1535.

You can find out about more sport and fitness activities happening locally by visiting the Active Essex website or calling 03330 131620.

Outdoor gyms

We have three outdoor gyms across the Braintree district that are open all year round and free to use for anyone aged 8 and over.

You can find our outdoor gyms at the following addresses:

  • Meadowside playing field, Coldnailhurst Avenue, Braintree CM7 5UG
  • John Ray Park, St John’s Avenue, Braintree CM7 1DJ
  • Spa Road playing field, 26 Highfields Road, Witham CM7 2HJ

Braintree Museum

Braintree Museum a great place to spend an enjoyable morning or afternoon. Explore Braintree’s history and its surrounding areas, focusing on its industrial and cultural achievements as well as its many notable personalities.

Address: Braintree Museum, Manor Street, Braintree EssexCM7 3HW

Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 4pm

For more information visit their website or call 01376 328868.

Warner Textile Archive

The Warner Textile Archive, located in Braintree, is the largest publicly owned collection from a luxury textile manufacturer in the UK and holds an inspiring and unique gallery, exhibiting some of the collection’s treasures including textiles, paper designs, books, photographs and documentary material.

Address: Silks Way, Braintree CM7 3GB

For more information and opening times, visit their website or call 01376 316780.

Braintree Village

Discover Braintree Village, an outlet shopping village in the heart of Essex, where you can discover premium aspirational brands. With the combination of fashion, homeware, accessories and restaurants, Braintree Village is a destination that creates unexpected moments of bargain filled surprise.

Address: Charter Way, Chapel Hill, Braintree, Essex CM77 8YH

For more information and opening times, visit their website or call 01376 348168.

Parks and open spaces

We have a range of fantastic parks and open spaces you can visit and enjoy for free, ranging from those with children’s play areas, to wildlife and country parks – all perfect for picnics.

Visit our parks and play areas web page to discover what is available in the Braintree district.

Local events

Across the district there are plenty of things to do and places to see, from food markets, weekly games clubs, cinema and bowling.

Visit the Visit Braintree District website for more information on local events, places to see and things to do or the Visit Essex website.

Getting around the Braintree district

There are a range of ways you can travel in and out of the Braintree District and across Essex.

By foot

You can discover a range of walking routes to explore online on our Visit Braintree District website

By bicycle

The Braintree district has a range of well developed on and off-road cycle networks. You can ask for a paper cycle map at County Hall on Market Road in Chelmsford or find it online on the Essex Highways website

You can discover a range of cycling routes to explore online on the Visit Braintree District website

By bus

There are lots of buses that travel around the Braintree district. There are stands with maps across towns and villages in the Braintree district to help visitors and new residents to find their way easily.

You can travel by bus to other towns like Chelmsford, Colchester, Basildon, Brentwood and Harlow.

There is also a bus to Stansted Airport from the Braintree bus interchange in the town centre. You can find bus timetables and plan your journey using Google Maps or on the First Bus website.

You can also download the TravelEssex app on your smartphone to plan your journey. Visit the Essex Highways website for more information. 

By train

There are a range of railway stations across the Braintree district and the rail operating company is called Greater Anglia.

  • Braintree Train Station, Station Approach, Braintree, Essex CM7 3QL
  • Braintree Freeport Train Station, Chapel Hill Retail Park, Braintree, Essex CM77 8YH
  • Cressing Train Station, Bulford Lane, Tye Green, Essex CM77 8NT
  • Kelvedon Train Station, Station Road, Kelvedon, Essex CO5 9NP
  • White Notley Train Station, Station Road, White Notley, Essex CM8 1RP
  • Witham Station, Albert Road, Witham, Essex CM8 2BS

Regular train services run to and from Liverpool Street station in London from Braintree and Witham stations. The journey takes around one hour from Braintree to London or Cambridge.

You can buy tickets online and find timetables on the Greater Anglia website or download the ‘Traveline’ app on your smartphone.

There are also ticket machines and a ticket office at the stations. You can discover more ways to travel by train online on the Essex Highways website

By taxi

We have six official taxi ranks in the Braintree district:

  • Albert Road, Witham
  • Manor Street, Braintree
  • Station Approach, Braintree
  • Rayne Road, Braintree
  • Freeport, near the cinema at the far end of the shopping complex
  • Trinity Street, Halstead

There are also two unofficial ranks at:

  • Freeport, next to the bus drop off near to the main shopping complex
  • Kelvedon Train Station (operated by Network Rail)

If you need a taxi, you can get one without booking at a taxi rank. Prices vary based on the time of day, the number of passengers and the type of vehicle.

Local Services

Community Services

Braintree District Council offer a range of services to support people who are new to the area. This includes community groups that are operating in the district that you or they may want to get involved with and signposting to services that you or they may need to access.

The team also provide a free Community Support and Employment Service to help residents find a job, access training and help with any personal issues that are making it difficult to find employment.

They can also help with writing a CV, job application and interview skills, and helping you develop new skills.

To find out more about the service or receive support, please contact us by calling 01376 552525 or emailing

Community Transport

We offer a Community Transport service to help people in the district get to appointments.

You can contact the Community Transport team if you have any questions about the scheme or a booking.

Telephone 01376 557883  or email

Local hospitals

The main hospitals for people living in the Braintree district is Halstead hospital and Braintree Community Hospital.

Halstead Hospital

Telephone: 01787 291022
Address: 78 Hedingham Road, Halstead, Essex CO9 2DL
View more information on the NHS website

Braintree Community Hospital

Address: Chadwick Drive, (Off Rayne Road), Braintree, Essex CM7 2AL

The closest accident and emergency department, where you can go if you need urgent treatment, is Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex.

Broomfield Hospital

Telephone: 01245 362000
Address: Court Road, Broomfield, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 7ET
View more information on the NHS website

If it is not urgent, you can call 111. The 111 service will give you advice over the phone and refer you to medical professionals who can help.

If you need an ambulance, call 999. If you don’t need an ambulance, you can get to the hospital by bus or taxi.

Supermarkets, high streets and markets

The main supermarkets in the Braintree district are Tesco, Aldi, Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

  • Tesco in Braintree’s Town Centre, Great Notley and Marks Farm in Braintree
  • Co-op in Braintree, Great Notley, Bocking, Halstead, Witham, Great Bardfield, Earls Colne and various other villages
  • Lidl in Braintree and Witham
  • Aldi and Morrisons in Witham
  • Sainsbury’s in Halstead High Street and Braintree town centre Other supermarkets:
  • Marks and Spencer in Braintree
  • Asda in Witham

High streets

The district has three delightful market towns; Braintree, Halstead and Witham, each unique in their own way and worth a visit.

They have shops for food, clothing, toiletries as well as cafés and restaurants.

Outdoor markets

  • Braintree Market – Every Wednesday and Saturday in Braintree town centre. There is also a special street market that takes place on the last Saturday of the month. More details can be found on the Visit Braintree District website
  • Witham Market – Every Saturday from 7.30am-3.30pm at Lockram Lane car park in Witham
  • Halstead Market - held every Friday in the High Street

Local Services

Ukraine Facebook community groups

A range of Facebook community groups have been set up to help those from Ukraine find out what support and information is available locally in the Braintree district and across Essex.

Please note that most of these groups are set up by members of the community and are not run by Braintree District Council.

Waste Collection

If you are sponsoring a family and there is likely to be a significant increase in the amount of waste the household produces, which will not be accommodated with your current bin arrangements, please contact our customer service centre by emailing or 01376 552525 and the team can discuss with you.

If you need more recycling sacks, please either call us on 01376 552525 or fill in our online form

Religious organisations and places of worship

The Braintree district is a diverse community made up of people from many religious faiths. We have a range of contacts for religious organisations and places of worship.

Please get in touch with us by emailing

English language classes

Conversational English classes are being run every week in Braintree to help guests with everyday English language, including what to say when shopping and on the bus.

They are being held every Monday at 1pm at Braintree Community Centre.

If you would like to register to attend, please email or call 01376 323280.

Adult Community Learning

Classes will also be available from Adult Community Learning in September 2022 for anyone who is learning English as a Second Language.

There is also a specific ‘ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) for Refugees’ course which runs for 34 weeks in Chelmsford and Colchester on a Monday morning starting from September 2022.

You can apply by calling 0345 603 7635 or email Any charges depend on circumstances.

Free online classes

The Open University are offering free online ‘Everyday English’ classes for Ukrainian guests and they can be accessed by visiting this website.

Libraries in Braintree District

There are currently 10 libraries in the Braintree District. These are located in the following areas:

  • Braintree Library, Fairfield Road, Braintree CM7 3YL
  • Coggeshall Library, The Friends’ Meeting House Stoneham Street, Coggeshall CO6 1UH
  • Earls Colne Library, William Hunt Reading Room & Library 38 High Street, Earls Colne CO6 2PA
  • Halstead Library, Bridge Street, Halstead CO9 1HU
  • Hatfield Peverel Library, The Street, Hatfield Peverel Chelmsford CM3 2DP
  • Kelvedon Library, Aylett’s Foundation School Maldon Road, Kelvedon CO5 9BA
  • Sible Hedingham Library, 169 Swan Street, Sible Hedingham CO9 3PX
  • Silver End Library, Silver End Village Hall Broadway, Silver End CM8 3RQ
  • Wickham Bishops Library, School Road Wickham Bishops, Witham CM8 3NU
  • Witham Library, 18 Newland Street, Witham CM8 2AQ

Joining the library service is free and easy and can give you or Ukrainian refugees living with you access to books, e-books and e magazines; online courses and learning resources; computers and Wi-Fi.

VIsit the Essex County Council website for more information or call 0345 603 7628 (open Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 5pm).

Useful local contact details

Help with cost of living

We understand that many residents are facing a cost of living crisis with rising bills. If you are worried about affording payments, managing debt and looking after you and your family’s wellbeing – there is support available.

Visit our website for more information. 

Contact Braintree District Council

If you need to contact us about local council services, you can:

Braintree JobCentre Plus

Telephone: 0800 169 0190
Address: The Old Post Office, Fairfield Road, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3HA

Libraries in Braintree District

Telephone 0345 603 7628
Visit their website for more information. 

Community360 – volunteering and wellbeing services

Telephone 01376 550507
Visit their website for more information. 

Citizens Advice

Provides free, confidential and impartial advice and campaign on big issues affecting people’s lives
Address: Collingwood Road, Witham, Essex CM8 2DY
Telephone 0808 278 7852
Visit their website for more information.

‘Essex is United for Ukraine’ Facebook page
A place to find out what’s happening locally to help those in Ukraine and those who have fled the country.

Braintree District Council housing advice

Telephone 01376 552525

Braintree District Council benefits advice

Telephone 01376 557852

Domestic Violence Services

Changing Pathways - Advice Line

Telephone 01268 729 707

COMPASS - Essex Domestic Abuse Helpline

Telephone 0330 333 7 444 (24 hours)

Safer Places

Telephone 03301 025811

Useful national contact numbers


Call free on 116 123
Visit their website

National Centre for Domestic Violence

Call free on 0800 970 2070
Visit their website


Telephone 0808 800 4444
Visit their website


Telephone 0808 800 5000
Visit their website

National Rail Enquires

Telephone 03457 48 49 50
Visit their website

Barnardo’s Ukrainian Support Helpline (free)

Telephone 0800 148 8586. Staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers to offer support to children and families arriving in the UK from Ukraine. Monday – Friday (10:00am – 8:00pm) and Saturday (10:00am – 3:00pm).

A range of translation apps and TV is available in Ukrainian in the UK that you or your guests can access and download.

  • Mediacast - download this app to your Smart TV or Apple TV to watch Ukrainian TV
  • Speak and Translate – download this app on your mobile phone for instant voice and text translator
  • Ukrainian News Channel available on Freeview 271 or on Apple TV