Partnership helps Ukrainian refugees settle in Essex

Published on: Tuesday, 28 February 2023
Last updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2023

The Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership is working with Refugee, Asylum seeker & Migrant Action (RAMA) to help Ukrainians now settled in Essex adapt to life in the county.

As February marks the first year of the devastating conflict in Ukraine, the partnership hosted 20 Ukrainians now living in the local area on a ‘Try a Train’ trip, to build their confidence in using public transport and give them the opportunity to explore further afield in their new hometown.

On Tuesday 14 February, travelling on a Greater Anglia train from Colchester, they visited Grayson Perry’s House for Essex at Wrabness and explored a local woodland walk adjacent to the Stour estuary before continuing to Harwich for fish and chips. The event was part-funded by the Essex Path to Prosperity project, supported by the Coastal Community Fund, to help explore the England Coast Path.

Community Rail Officers also provided important guidance about rail safety.

Natalia Uzumlu, RAMA’s translator and caseworker who assisted on the trip, said: “I have received plenty of thankful messages from our Ukrainians, expressing their gratitude to those who organised and funded this great trip.”

Terri Ryland of the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, said, “We were delighted that everyone on the trip had a great day. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have to flee your country and start again in an unknown place and I hope that our ongoing work with RAMA will help refugees and asylum seekers to feel more integrated and confident about exploring their new surroundings.”

Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said, “We were pleased to support this vital work by the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership which is helping people to use public transport safely and with confidence and connecting them to new opportunities.”