Community Foundation for Surrey awards £45,000 to support refugees arriving from Ukraine

23rd February 2023

This week marks the start of the war in Ukraine, an ongoing conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions of people.


Many Ukrainians are now living in a safe place in a different country, but all the time are thinking about their family members, who may still be living in Ukraine where life is often unimaginably difficult. At the same time moving to a new country can be challenging and it is vital that we help these displaced people in their time of need.

The Community Foundation for Surrey is heartened to see so many Surrey residents opening their homes, and hearts, to our Ukrainian guests. Working with the Freemasons’ Charity as part of a national programme, we’re pleased to be able to provide grant funding to help this vital work.

Supporting Ukrainian refugees in Surrey

Working with the Masonic Charitable Foundation Ukrainian Refugee Support Project, we are delighted to confirm that £45,000 has been awarded across the following six organisations in Surrey that are supporting displaced Ukrainian people.

  • Creative Response Arts – Arts for Wellbeing
  • Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network (Good Company Surrey) – Pathway of Hope
  • The Lighthouse (also known as Emmaus Transformation Trust Limited) – Ukrainian Hub
  • Elmbridge CAN – Ukrainian Support 2023
  • Voluntary Support North Surrey – Ukrainian Support in Runnymede
  • St Mary’s Ukrainian School Ltd – Children’s Art and Music workshops

Here are brief details about four of the projects:

Voluntary Support North Surrey

Funding for continued support of displaced Ukrainian refugees in Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath via an established Ukrainian Hub. The grant supports regular and structured drop-in sessions at a local venue with services to allow people to access emotional support and help with applying for benefits, workshops on finding employment, access to a Ukrainian translator and informal English lessons.

“We have seen first-hand the need for support that Ukrainian refugees have at our Chertsey drop-in. Over 600 Ukrainian families are expected in North Surrey and this funding will be used to support and develop up to six local drop-ins and increased individual support.”

– Solette Sheppardson, CEO, Voluntary Support North Surrey



St Mary’s Ukrainian School Ltd

St Mary’s Ukrainian community schools became the shelter and safe place for children and families helping them to recover from loss and other traumatic experiences and reconnect with their peers who share the same language, culture and Ukrainian heritage. St Mary’s Ukrainian School Woking is planning to invite art and music teachers/specialists to teach lessons/run sessions and workshops to 65-80 displaced Ukrainian children aged 8-15 who are currently part of the Woking, Surrey community. Read more

“We sincerely thank you for funding the Art and Music project at Woking St Mary’s Ukrainian Saturday School. Your donation makes a massive difference for Ukrainian displaced children in our community. Thanks to you, Ukrainian kids can attend Saturday school, where they spend quality time with their peers, deepen their knowledge, work as a team on various art projects, and simultaneously form friendships with peers and build trust with teachers.”

– Orysya Novetska, St Mary’s Ukrainian School Ltd



The Lighthouse

Funding for continued support of a busy Ukrainian Hub offering a range of support and services to displaced Ukrainian people in and around Woking.

The Lighthouse is working with the local council as well as individuals and organisations, providing a hub that helps Ukrainian refugees find signposting help, get connected into their local community, and be able to meet with others in a similar situation.

The Lighthouse is currently supporting around 100 Ukrainian people on a weekly basis. The Ukrainian team offers support throughout the week by phone, email and provides one-to-one support. Help is provided in many areas from school and job applications to community events and socials. Read more

“Thank you so much for funding to help to create a lifeline of support for Ukrainian refugees upon their move to the UK. It makes a massive difference in their ability to find help, opportunity and positive community despite the circumstances.”

– Lucy Greenland, The Lighthouse



Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network (Good Company Surrey)

Funding for English and Employment support for displaced Ukrainian people in Epsom & Ewell, Mole Valley, and Reigate & Banstead. Read more

EERN has devised a programme called Pathway of Hope, which is supporting displaced Ukrainian people with support and training for English skills and employment guidance. This will enable people to create their own futures, as they build lives for themselves and their families whilst they are living in Surrey. This project has been created in response to feedback received from the Ukrainian refugees currently being supported. The aims are to enable people to access better employment opportunities and accommodation. The funding will be used to pay for two Ukrainian teachers of English and teaching materials Other teaching support is from volunteers.

“English classes are very important – they are vital. For us, Ukrainians, they are survival lessons. The more lessons we have, the faster we will integrate into society. Thank you for the opportunity the Network is giving us!”

– Natalia (class attendee)



More about the Freemasons’ charity

The Freemasons’ charity (the Masonic Charitable Foundation) is funded entirely by Freemasons and their families. The charity’s mission is to provide support, care and services to Freemasons and their families in need, and also support other charities to help the most disadvantaged in society. Read more

More about the Masonic Charitable Foundation Ukrainian Refugee Support Project

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) Ukrainian Refugee Support Project is providing a total donation of £500,000 to UK Community Foundations (UKCF) to support refugee arrivals from Ukraine. The target organisations are local charities and voluntary and community groups that are:

  • Preparing support for the arrival of people from Ukraine
  • Funding the direct delivery of services for Ukrainian refugees
  • Developing longer-term support for the integration of Ukrainian refugees

Read more


Discover more about applying for a grant with the Community Foundation for Surrey