Citizens Advice Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch is just one of the organisations which is helping refugees to settle into their new life in Dorset, thanks to a grant from the DCF (Dorset Community Foundation) Fund.
The Fund, supported by Dorset and BCP Councils and launched last year, has distributed £70,000 which has been shared amongst 18 projects across the county.
Citizens Advice used a £4,000 grant to set up an advice clinic at Bournemouth Library for refugees and asylum seekers to drop in and seek help with navigating the immigration system.
Safe and Sound in Bournemouth is using a £5,700 grant to run fortnightly sessions for Ukrainian mums and children to meet together at its café. Manager Dot Pickett said: “This is to encourage women who may be isolated in their homes to come together, while their older children are in school.
“Many want to get together with other people in similar circumstances to them, to have the time, space and opportunity to see others from their country and to create a support group and network to help them heal from trauma and integrate into their new country.”
The Shaftesbury Refugee Group used a £4,000 grant to run a range of support for Syrian and Ukrainian families, including English conversation lessons, subsidised transport, help with training and learning to drive and organising get togethers.
Purbeck Connect Ukraine is using a £3,475 grant to help families and children learn English and help their host families pick up some Ukrainian phrases – as well as helping with furniture and bedding as they move into their own homes.
Treads in Blandford, together with the Friendly Food Club, have been awarded £7,900 to run cookery and activity sessions for young Ukrainians and young people from the town. They cook and then enjoy a meal together.
Bridport Community Shed is working with the town’s multicultural group on a project to create a community bench, thanks to a £3,000 grant. The bench, which will be presented to the town, will feature dozens of individually turned pieces that could reflect the culture of the people making them.
Cllr Laura Beddow, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Culture, Communities and Customer Services, said: “Dorset has a proud history of welcoming new arrivals at times of crisis, offering homes and support to people escaping the horrors of war.
“With our support, the DCF Welcome Fund has made a real difference to Ukrainian and Afghan refugees as they build new lives here in Dorset. I am really proud that we have been able to help so many different groups and projects.”
Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “We are very proud to have worked with Dorset Council and BPC Council to distribute this money to some wonderful projects that will go a long way to making refugees and asylum seekers feel supported and welcomed into our communities.”
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