UKRAINIAN families settling in Colchester after a desperate flight from their homes were given a warm welcome by community groups.

With several families beginning to find their feet in the borough, Community360, Colchester Council, Refugee Action Colchester and Migrant Action were determined to put on a welcoming event.

The occasion, held at One Colchester Hub, Long Wyre Street, helped Ukrainians to meet with others in a similar situation and hear more about the newly-proclaimed city.

Scott Tatum, head of programmes at Community360, said: “The One Colchester Hub was the perfect place to host this fantastic event, as our space is all about connecting with our communities.

“We want to do all we can to help our guests settle in, feel safe and supported and to quickly feel at home in Colchester.

Gazette: Busy - a variety of activities were on offerBusy - a variety of activities were on offer

“I hope this event went some way in helping our Ukrainian guests feel welcomed and reassured they are safe when living and working in our area.”

Throughout the day families were treated to arts and crafts for the children, music performances, food and drink and a range of services informing families of the support and guidance on offer to them.

“It's heart-warming to see the local response to the war in Ukraine and the number of new arrivals being hosted in Colchester,” said Maria Wilby, director at Refugee Action Colchester.

“We felt it was important to invite families to the hub, to offer advice and support as well as giving showing them what a great a community we have here in Colchester.”

Colchester Council’s chief executive, Pam Donnelly added: “Colchester has stood as a beacon to people fleeing conflict and persecution throughout the ages and is rightly proud to be doing so once again by welcoming those seeking sanctuary from the war in Ukraine.

“Colchester is very fortunate to have an active and capable voluntary sector, and we will continue to work in partnership with them so we can provide an efficient support network for all of those who have sought, and continue to seek, sanctuary in our wonderful borough.”