Tuesday 21 June saw the fifth community drop-in session run by Thurrock Council. This time the session took place in the Community Church Hall at Chadwell St Mary.
These free events, which have been well attended and held across Corringham, Purfleet-on-Thames, South Ockendon and Grays, have brought together council services and partner services across health, employment, finance, education, housing and more, to make sure Ukrainian guests arriving under the 'Homes for Ukraine' scheme have the information they need to help them settle into life in our borough. Volunteer translators have been on hand, and those attending have been signposted to services that can help with learning English.
More than 20 refugees came along to the Church Hall, some with their children.
The council has played a significant and leading role in helping Ukrainian guests settle in the UK with their 'sponsors' – Thurrock residents who have selflessly put themselves forward to offer accommodation and support to those who have and continue to flee their home country as the war in Ukraine continues.
As part of the council's responsibilities to support the scheme, its Housing team carries out thorough checks on sponsors' accommodation to make sure it is comfortable and safe, as well as regular welfare checks. The Human Resources team carries out the required Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on individuals, and the Finance team makes sure all government payments owed to sponsors and guests are fulfilled.
Cllr Qaisar Abbas, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "We must not lose sight of the fact the horrific events in Ukraine continue to this day. No-one should ever need to leave their country under duress, but I know as a Council we have stepped up and have passionate and dedicated people around the table to make sure we are doing everything we can to welcome our Ukrainian friends into Thurrock.
"I have been heartened in seeing first-hand how fantastic the support has been for our Ukrainian arrivals, not just from the council but from the wider community as well. It has been great to see the interaction at these events. They have been offering more than just support with day to day living, they have helped our Ukrainian guests get to know one another, which is so important for building their own sense of community. I welcome them with open arms”.
The Community Church Hall in Chadwell St Mary is now running a monthly coffee morning for guests and their sponsors. You can find out more by calling 07897 717 5651 or emailing email@example.com
Photo below: Cllr James Halden, Mayor of Thurrock, and Cllr Abbas and the Community Church Hall.