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Kent Community Foundation has awarded £45,000 from the Ukrainian Support Fund to organisations that are supporting Ukrainian Refugees in Kent.

The Ukrainian Support Fund launched in 2022 with funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to help local charities and community groups supporting Ukrainian refugees’ social integration into the UK. Kent Community Foundation has distributed £45,000 to seven organisations, supporting family workshops, information hubs, weekend activities, and other socially inclusive initiatives.

The successful organisations were, Medway Plus, Canterbury 4 Ukraine, Craftship Enterprise CIC, Tunbridge Wells Welcomes Refugees, Invicta National Academy, Medway Help for Ukrainians and Romain Slovak Czech Community CIC.

Natalie Smith, Director of Grants and Impact, Kent Community Foundation said, “Kent Community Foundation was one of ten Foundations across England and Wales to receive a share of £485,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to offer financial support to grassroots charities and community organisations that were preparing support for refugees arriving from Ukraine, funding the direct delivery of services and developing longer-term support for their integration. The £45,000 that has been awarded to the seven grass roots organisations will make a huge difference to the lives of Ukrainian refugees in Kent and Medway.”

Giles Polglase from Canterbury for Ukraine (C4U) said, “Canterbury for Ukraine brings local volunteers, charity organisations, education providers and local businesses together to support Ukrainian families coming to the Canterbury area in their search for safety – it is a truly community-based association run by volunteers who give their time freely. This award will both help coordinating the activities of C4U centrally and sustain activities over the next period; it will help us do more and remain responsive to the needs of Ukrainian displaced persons and their hosts.”

Though a year has passed since the invasion of Ukraine, its impact will undoubtedly last for many years and continue to inflict suffering on the millions of displaced Ukrainians around Europe. But sadly, Ukraine is but one of the many countries facing conflict and discrimination around the world, with thousands of people being forced to flee their homes every day.

Les Hutchinson, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemason’s charity, said, “I am delighted that we have been able to offer significant aid to many Ukrainians who have arrived in this country. They have abandoned everything in a country grappling with the consequences of a catastrophic conflict, and I am proud that the assistance provided by the Freemasons is making such a difference.”

About the grant recipients

Medway Plus received £7,000 to support a number of adult and teen Ukrainian migrants who are learning English at Mid Kent College to help with their chances of meaningful employment. As well as a coach tour for the newcomers to familiarise themselves with the area, workshops were arranged at the College with representatives of statutory services, including transport, health, education and employment.

Canterbury for Ukraine C4U received £7,000 to cover administrative support and to grow the ‘YoU- Hub,’ a Youth Hub for Ukrainians to engage children and young people in a peer environment and provide a space to bridge experiences of disruption and displacement and reconnect with their heritage and culture.

Craftship Enterprise was awarded £6,000 to run a series of creative workshops for Ukrainian, Afghan and Syrian refugees. The weekly workshops would focus on sewing, painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, printing and photography and will finish with an exhibition of the works they have made throughout the course.

Tunbridge Wells Welcomes Refugees received £7,000 for English classes for fifty Ukrainians to improve their English skills so that they are able to manage daily life in the UK and improve their proficiency sufficiently to enable them to obtain better paid jobs. The balance of the grant was used to fund five Ukrainians, to take the Child Minding and First Aid courses needed to become registered Child Minders.

Invicta National Academy applied for £7,000 to fund an eight-week programme of twenty four phonics English lessons for Ukrainian refugee children aged 4-12 and their parents or carers to give them an important boost as they begin life in a British school.

Medway Help for Ukrainians received £7,000 which will be used to provide English lessons for adults and children, to provide clothing, including school uniform, to hold a careers event and to offer the Ukrainians the opportunity to connect with each other at a local Church Hall.

Romani Slovak Czech Community received £4,000 to provide coffee morning sessions and an outreach service to introduce local resources and amenities to support Ukrainian families to settle and integrate. The informal coffee mornings will not only provide a safe space for people to come and chat about everyday problems, but also provide advice and support. 

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind