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Ukrainian refugee living in Felixstowe ready to launch board game





A Ukrainian refugee who moved to a Suffolk town last year will launch his first board game in the next two months.

Yuriy Manzhos from Bila Tserva, south of Kyiv, moved to Felixstowe as part of the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Having started creating educational board games for children when working as a business coach in Ukraine, Mr Manzhos almost has his first game ready.

Yuriy Manzhos with his educational board game. Photo: East of England LGA
Yuriy Manzhos with his educational board game. Photo: East of England LGA

He said: “We were downright lucky when we moved to the UK – especially with a powerful Ukrainian community that has formed in Felixstowe, where we moved.

“Many British people immediately began to help us.

“I believe the adaptation process was quite successful. We really like it here.”

Yuriy Manzhos called him and his family 'downright lucky' as they moved to the UK. Photo: East of England LGA
Yuriy Manzhos called him and his family 'downright lucky' as they moved to the UK. Photo: East of England LGA

Suffolk’s Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP), which supports collaboration between local and central government and others for the benefit of migrants, worked with Mr Manzhos

The SMP’s ‘wellbeing and work for refugee integration’ project has helped more than 1,500 since it started in 2020 – including 170 refugees this year.

Working with the statutory, volunteer, private and community sectors, the project works with refugees who want jobs and assists businesses with their role in supporting refugees.

Bury St Edmunds-based business support organisation MENTA also played a role in ensuring Mr Manzhos realised his potential in the UK.

Another refugee supported by MENTA and SMP is Boshra Hasan, who was studying in the UK when war broke out in her home country of Syria.

Boshra Hasan thinks more people should be aware of the support on offer for refugees. Photo: Boshra Hasan
Boshra Hasan thinks more people should be aware of the support on offer for refugees. Photo: Boshra Hasan

“I came here in 2010 to study and to do a masters and a PhD,” she said.

“Then the war happened and I couldn’t go back.”

As she spoke good English, Boshra started working for an organisation supporting refugees resettle.

Looking to further her career as an interpreter, Boshra, who now lives in Colchester, contacted MENTA and the SMP for advice.

Ms Hasan continued: “I wouldn’t have been able to progress without support and funding from MENTA.

“I would recommend that other refugees look for support. The help is there, and with this they can really flourish.

“The problem is many refugees don’t know about these services. It’s so important to spread the word as much as we can.”

Unrest began in Syria on March 15, 2011. The war in Ukraine started on February 24, 2022.

For more on the SMP and its work helping refugees into work, visit this website.

Ferzana Kusair, high skills employment advisor at the SMP said: “Refugees have a huge positive impact on the region’s economy.

“There is a wealth of talent and experience among refugees, and we want to help match employers with the perfect employee.

“Many refugees, like Yuriy and Boshra, want to build businesses of their own but just need some advice and support to make it happen.”