Together for Ipswich launches to help Ukrainian refugees

Churches and charities in Ipswich have come together to help Ukrainian refugees.

Churches and charities in Ipswich have come together to help Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich/Sarah Lucy Brown

More than 80 churches, charities and individuals across Ipswich are coming together in a show of solidarity for Ukrainian refugees.

Together for Ipswich was launched by churches and local Christian charities, and one of its very first initiatives will provide support for Ukrainians now living in the area.

Simon Barrington, chair of the group, said the idea is to provide a single point of contact between the civic authorities.

He said: “There is so much goodwill out there and people are really stepping up to help.

Simon Barrington with welcome packs

Simon Barrington, chair of the group 'Together for Ipswich' which aims to help Ukrainian refugees settle into the area. - Credit: Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

“We hope Together for Ipswich will provide an important link between the amazing work being done by churches and charities in Ipswich and the local authority.”

Along with Mr Barrington, The Archdeacon of Ipswich, Rhiannon King, recently took part in a vigil for Ukraine on the steps of Ipswich’s town hall.

She said: “We were able to meet a number of local Ukrainians who came and quickly realised they didn’t know each other.

“This initiative will allow us to meet and build a network of local people affected by the conflict that we can help and support.

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“The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is a tragedy, and we need to do all we can to support those in need.”

A vigil will be held in Ipswich town centre to show support for the people of Ukraine

Ipswich town hall lit up in blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag - Credit: Timothy Bradford

Together for Ipswich will provide information and support for those fleeing the warzone, as well as helping families who have offered to open their homes to refugees.

It also aims to bring together Ukrainians who have already made a home in Ipswich, to develop a network of people who speak the same language, ready to help their compatriots.

The group has created a welcome pack for churches to give out, including maps of the town, information about local support groups and English classes, chocolate, toys for children and some free copies of the Ukrainian New Testament while available. 

The packs also include information about local Top-Up Shops provided by some of the churches and places of welcome.

There has been widespread effort across Ipswich and Suffolk to support Ukrainian refugees. 

In Parliament, the efforts of the town's Polish Community Hub was praised during Prime Minister's Questions.

Other initiatives have included raising funds for refugees with autism and ADHD.