Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network, a thriving community group
To escape forced religious conversion. Fear of torture. Conscription and life in a dictatorship. Some of the reasons why temporary residents supported by Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network left their own countries.
For network co-founder Nina Kaye the horrific picture of a little Syrian boy’s body on a Turkish beach was decisive. She had to do something to help.
What began with support for an individual Syrian is now a thriving community group helping families from Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Speaking to a special Citizens Advice meeting on 25 May, Nina described being ‘overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity’ of local people as the network grew. The offer of support is now backed by a 500-strong volunteer database. Host families, housing and employment experts and language teachers. all participate.
Ability to partner with local organisations
Among the network’s strengths is their ability to partner with local organisations. Friends meeting at Zig Zag Cafe Epsom. Fortnightly socials at Epsom Methodist Church. Presence at Surrey Stands with Ukraine hub in the Ashley Centre. A summer language school at St John’s School, Leatherhead.
We’re delighted that a CAEE Adviser will be part of the EERN hub Help Desk. Soon refugees may also be able to gain confidence and work experience by taking up one of our volunteering opportunities.