In 2015, a group of local people from the Epsom & Ewell area were compelled to act in response to the harrowing scenes they were witnessing on the news each day of thousands of Syrians fleeing the war. A meeting was held to discuss how they may be able to offer support and assistance to those arriving as refugees and asylum seekers in the Epsom area. From that first meeting, an active and passionate network of volunteers and supporters grew, and within three months Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network (EERN) was established.
Over the following years, EERN welcomed a number of individuals and families who were either passing through this area or being permanently resettled and provided a wide range of practical, emotional and social support. We have actively responded to the needs of the larger influxes of people coming from Afghanistan in 2021 and Ukraine in 2022, while offering ongoing support to others from many different countries of origin.
Our vision has remained consistent over the past eight years - to help all those fleeing war, persecution or fear of death who find themselves in and around the Epsom & Ewell area. Everyone we work with would go home tomorrow if it were safe for them to do so. They have been forced to leave the place they call home and we try to help them integrate and build a future here, understanding the challenges they face.
Today we employ a team of five people, and have a vibrant and diverse range of volunteers who provide intensive support to the families, including support with employment, housing, schools guidance, benefits and access to health services, as well as in areas like English language and conversation.
We are based in Global House in Epsom, in a space that is generously shared with us by one of our partners, Surrey Stands with Ukraine.
Jonathan Lees, Director of Good Company, was one of the initial founders of Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network. We have always been part of the same Trust as the Epsom & Ewell Food Bank and are now part of the larger Good Company (Surrey).
We are very grateful to our supporters and donors, whose generous donations are essential to maintaining our operations and make all of our work possible.
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