A community event held to provide support for Ukrainian guests and sponsors in the Braintree district was hailed a great success.
The event, held last Friday, 10 June and organised by Braintree District Council and Braintree Community Centre, saw over 30 people in attendance where they had the opportunity to meet and talk to others with a translator available, share experiences and learn about local services available to them.
Two local residents knitted and donated bears to give to Ukrainian children who attended on the day, and Minidelikatesy Kubus business who are based in Braintree town centre also attended to understand whether there were any particular items such as food and clothes required in order to provide them for guests and sponsors at the next event.
It was the first of these specialised information and support events held at the community centre, and due to the positive feedback it received, another event has been organised for Friday, 17 June at 11am, which has been tailored to focus on learning English and tutors will be on hand to understand how they can help guests and what support they need moving forward.
Braintree District Council is continuing to work with partner agencies, including Essex County Council, to provide support for both the immediate and longer terms needs of Ukrainian arrivals.
Welcome packs for sponsors and their guests to understand and access the wide range of support available in the Braintree district and across Essex are available, including mental health support, help with finances and benefits, applying for school places and accessing NHS services.
Cllr Frankie Ricci, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "Events like these help us demonstrate the strength of community we have in the Braintree district and we are pleased that Ukrainian guests and sponsors in the district found it beneficial and were able to meet and chat to others in a similar situation as them.
“We look forward to hosting the next one which we’ve tailored to ensure it delivers what support our Ukrainian guests need and will continue to work alongside our partners to ensure they have our support for as long as they are in our district.”
Brenda Baker from Braintree Community Centre, said: “We are delighted to be able to assist new residents in Braintree who have come from Ukraine. We had a successful first coffee morning on Friday 10th June and look forward to hosting our second one. We are keen to continue supporting Ukrainians in the community and so we are pleased that from next week we will be offering free English classes for Ukrainians up until September to help guests learn conversational English and we are also exploring some children learning opportunities we can offer during the school holidays.”
Residents who would like to find out more information about the support available in the Braintree district and across Essex or how they can support those affected by the crisis can visit our web page.