A shuttle bus driver turned community hero has praised the leader of a Colchester refugee charity for providing a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Ahead of the opening of Bridgeway’s, a refugee charity run by former refugees, new community hub, one staff member has praised the work of charity founder, Souzan Yousif.

Martin Green, 62, drives a shuttlebus from the refugee hotel in Ardleigh to Colchester city centre, where Bridgeway founder Souzan has been aiding them to adapt to life in Colchester.

Full of praise, Martin referred to charity boss Souzan as a "breath of fresh air" saying she "goes the extra mile" by providing the refugees with ingredients to make their own traditional meals at the charity hub in Colchester.

Martin explained how more recently he has been inspired by Souzan’s work, looking to take on the role of what he describes as a facilitator, making wishes come true for refugees.

A cricket enthusiast of 40 years, who used to run Holmwood House’s sports hall, Martin couldn’t help but get involved with two younger refugees who were playing with a makeshift set up.

Gazette: Councillor David King cutting the ribbon on the new Bridgeway Mission Community Hub, next to owner Souzan YousifCouncillor David King cutting the ribbon on the new Bridgeway Mission Community Hub, next to owner Souzan Yousif (Image: Newsquest)

After providing the youngsters with a proper bat and ball, Martin spoke to his contacts at the Colchester Cricket Club, landing the pair try outs, eventually joining the club and becoming regular starters for the Colchester and Elmstead clubs.

“Souzan and her husband are like mother and father to this group of people, she loves helping them, she has so much empathy it is so inspiring.

“People think giving up your time for nothing is worthless, but it is so rewarding, the smiles you can put on these people's faces gives you the warmest feeling.”

Speaking on the new hub, on Long Wyre street, near the Community360 building,  Souzansaid: “This hub will be for the refugees and asylum seekers from the Middle East.

“In the hub we a food pantry, internet hub, stitching and natter area, crafts for children, pampering sessions, English communication skills, and cultural food for adults and children.”

For more information on Bridgeway and their work, visit tinyurl.com/4cau96j4.