Who we are…

Like many people we were upset and moved in 2015 when we heard of the hardship, suffering and exploitation being endured by refugees from all parts of the world…

We were sufficiently moved that we felt we wanted to do something to help – and so Refugee Action – Colchester was formed.

We are all local volunteers with families, work and other commitments, who meet to gather and develop ideas in ways we can make a positive action.

We believe that together we are stronger and can make a difference.

Starting from a small core group as a grassroots activists committed to helping others, we’ve developed into a flourishing Community Interest Company supported by many hard-working volunteers and we’ve built strong links with our community, local government, local peer organisations, national and international refugee and migrant support groups.

The Directors of Refugee Action – Colchester CIC are as follows…

Philip Horner
Director, Chair, Treasurer and Caseworker

I am an IT Security Consultant currently working for a major international IT consultancy firm, I have previous experience working in the manufacturing and energy sectors.

I was brought up in Wivenhoe, but spent 25 years in North Wales, returning to the area a few years ago. I have three children, two of whom are at university, and one who recently got married.  In 2016 I acquired a retired racing greyhound who gets me out and about on a daily basis. In my spare time I play tennis at Wivenhoe Tennis Club.

I became a director of Refugee Action – Colchester when the organisation set up as a Community Interest Company, and am now pleased to be Chair of the group. I am also on the committee of Brightlingsea Refugee Support Network.

Apart from assisting with everything from popup cafes to manning the information stand at various events, I have arranged a number of volunteering trips to help with the refugee situation in Calais, taking car loads of donations and helping with the sorting and distribution of aid there.

Maria Wilby
Director & Caseworker

I grew up in Essex and have lived and worked in and around Colchester for many years.

I am a Counsellor and have worked within Education and privately for some years. Currently I am a full time voluntary Case Worker for Refugee Action – Colchester.  My experience as a Counsellor and some previous outreach work for the Refugee Council equip me well for the role.

I work directly with refugees and asylum seekers providing advocacy and often liaise with other professional organisations.

I enjoy speaking at schools, colleges and universities about both the work of RA-C and the needs of the refugees.

I was awarded the 2017 Adult Volunteer of the Year Award from Essex County Council for my work.

Working with refugees and asylum seekers is the most fulfilling work I have ever done. I learn daily from the courage and determination of these new arrivals. My life has been enriched by meeting many good people in Colchester who want to help.

Kate Khan
Director & Event, Fundraising & Volunteer Co-Ordinator

Hi, I’m Kate, I’ve held various job roles including Floating Support Officer and in this role I supported customers from many different client groups, this work would include working with customers to achieve specific goals and move forward enhancing their life chances. My post entailed supporting with benefit issues, housing issues to name a few.

I currently work full time for Colchester Borough Council in the Communities Department, so a lot of my work within Refugee Action-Colchester is therefore behind the scenes.

However, I do run the stalls and help organise events, fundraising and attend meetings as well as network for RA-C.

I am proud that our RA-C now has CIC status and that I am a Director of our group.

I enjoy reading and go to the gym as much as time allows in my spare time and the odd glass of red If you would like to organise an event for RA-C or would like to know more about fundraising for us or volunteer with us, please get in contact.