Alan Cutting
I continue a) to pray for peace in Ukraine, and b) to coordinate the efforts of the Ipswich churches as they reach out to our local Ukrainian community.  This is on behalf of Together for Ipswich. 
I aim to keep this page updated with the various events and opportunities that are available to you.  Message me on 07834 693144 for more information and to book places for tours and event tickets.
Best wishes! 

Я продовжую а) молитися за мир в Україні і б) координувати зусилля церков Іпсвіча, коли вони звертаються до нашої місцевої української громади. Це від імені «Разом за Іпсвіч». 
​Я прагну постійно оновлювати цю сторінку різними подіями та можливостями, доступними для вас.  Пишіть мені на номер 07834 693144, щоб отримати додаткову інформацію та забронювати місця для екскурсій і квитків на події.

Найкращі побажання! 



Immediately after the commencement of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Together for Ipswich appointed Alan Cutting to lead our Ukraine response. Now, two years on, we review this important work. Download the full report here.
alan cutting

Ipswich Vigil for ukraine

February 24 is such a difficult day, and one when all Ukrainians want to remember, to reflect, to pray and to stand together in solidarity.  Many of you will have stood with British friends outside Ipswich Town Hall for the three previous vigils we had arranged, the last one being in February 2023.  

But in 2024, we wanted to offer something a little different.  After consulting with several Ukrainians living locally, we decided to hold a two-day drop-in event between 10.00 and 18.00 on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 February, at St Mary at the Elms Church in central Ipswich, followed by the formal Civic Vigils, led by Church and community leaders at 18.00 on both days.  

St Mary at the Elms is a relatively small church building, but is of huge spiritual, historic and architectural interest in the town.  Since the outbreak of the war, the congregation of this church - of Anglo-Catholic Tradition, but welcoming of those of all faiths and none - have met EVERY DAY since February 2022 to pray for 'a true and just and lasting peace' in Ukraine, and have not stopped displaying a prayer candle alongside the Ukrainian flag in their front porch.

During the two days of vigil we had Ukrainian music, art and food, and a Eucharist was Said each lunchtime.  Guests had an opportunity to indicate on maps where in Ukraine loved ones are living, and to sign a book which we called our 'Ongoing Prayer for Peace in Ukraine'.  Over the two days Ipswich School students exhibited some Petrykivka (Ukrainian folk art), local artist Angela Ashford created a wonderful painting, full of rich and prophetic symbolism, and Andrew Gosden provided background music on keyboard.  David Jacobs, who has repeatedly taken vehicles into Ukraine in the last two years, was with us both days, offering raffle tickets as a fund-raiser towards his next trip.  We received visits from journalists and photographers from the East Anglian Daily Times, four radio stations and Anglia TV, as well as representatives from Suffolk Refugee Support, Community Action Suffolk and Suffolk County Council (Homes for Ukraine Scheme).

The two evening vigils were painful and poignant, and yet wholesome and hopeful.  Guests came from various towns and villages in a twenty mile radius to the vigils, which were hosted by Archdeacon Rhiannon King.  Speeches were given by Councillor Lynne Mortimer, Mayor of Ipswich, by His Hon Judge Martyn Levett, Recorder of Ipswich, and by former cabinet minister Dr Thérèse Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal.  I read my 'Ipswich Prayer for Ukraine', Ukrainians Alina Dolgopolova and Natalie Lawrence beautifully performed three soul-filled songs, and a mixed Ukrainian/British choir led the congregation in singing 'The National Prayer for Ukraine", which was composed back in 1885 by Mykola Lysenko.

During the two days, almost 400 people came through the 1,000 year old door into the church building, probably 60% of them being Ukrainian.  The whole event was an encouraging and comfortable collaboration between the Ukrainian and British communities, perfectly reflected in the fact that of the 46 volunteers who planned, hosted and served at the event, 23 were Ukrainian and 23 were British.

A transcript of some of the songs and speeches, and many of the photos taken at the Saturday evening vigil by our photographer, Philip King, can be found at  

Plays, Pantomimes and Ballets

Thomas Wolsey 550, Hope Church, Red Rose Chain and other donors kindly gave us grants for 165 tickets for plays, pantomimes and ballet performances in Ipswich during December and the New Year.  Tickets for these events were free for all our refugee and asylum seeking communities.  

Thomas Wolsey 550 also gave us extra funding for meals and parties over the Christmas and New Year period.  As a result, we were able to offer a total of 378 'expressions of kindness' to our Ukrainian friends.

A big thank you to all our donors.  Your generosity has done so much to console, encourage and integrate the Ukrainian community into our wonderful town and county, and they are very grateful! 

suffolk tours

We received some great feedback from the thirteen Suffolk Tours we did in 2023.  The tours, sponsored by Engaged Communities and many other well-wishers, took over 180 people (asylum seekers and refugees, including 120 Ukrainians) all over Suffolk and into Cambridge. 

​We hope to do a few more trips in 2024.  I'll put the details here when we know them.

what else do we do?

Hope Church continues to offer their free English Conversation Classes (for beginner, intermediate and advance levels) every Thursday morning during school term times.  It starts at 10am and goes on till midday, after which there is the option of lunch at their excellent Community Cafe.  It's all at Hope Centre IP4 2AT.  

Regarding the type of support we are able to give to individual Ukrainians, here are some recent examples:

  • Furniture (e.g. desks, chest of drawers) provided for several Ukrainian families moving on to their own accommodation

  • CV training and employment advice offered to six Ukrainians

  • A family accompanied to a school open day

  • Volunteer work placements offered 

  • A free car parking place found for a Ukrainian taking up a new job in central Ipswich

  • Mechanical checks and advice given on the purchase of second-hand car  

  • New-to-Ipswich Ukrainian family introduced to others from their home town

  • Translating and interpreting services

  • Arranging transport (e.g. for emergency dental appointments)

  • Links made between two different agencies providing humanitarian support into Ukraine

We can't meet every need, but we're ready to listen!

Stories from Suffolk Tours

House in the Clouds

Nadiia*, a 13-year-old girl who has been attending an online school in Kiev since coming to the UK, has an English textbook with a picture of The House in the Clouds on one of the chapter headings.  Nadiia's teacher had asked her if she knew where this strange house was, and she'd shrugged her shoulders and said 'no'.  So to walk up a tiny lane in Thorpeness whilst on a Suffolk Tour, and find it standing there in all its glory, was an amazing discovering for her.  Nadiia messaged her teacher straight away, with a picture of her standing in front of it!
*name changed

Drawing Ukraine

The young family – mother and two girls, 7 and 2 - moved to Ipswich soon after the commencement of the war, and made their first visit back to Ukraine to see their family in August.  Their return journey to England involved undertaking a 19-hour bus journey from Kharkiv to Warsaw, then a flight to Stansted.  They were obviously tired when I picked them up from the airport for the final leg of their long journey home, but they were seemingly peaceful and not too negatively impacted by the devastation they saw and heard whilst in a city that borders the front line.

The very next day they were up early, and on the minibus for our Suffolk Tour of Kersey, Lavenham and Long Melford.  In the gardens of Long Melford Hall, the two-year-old found some paper and crayons, and said to her mother, “I want to draw Ukraine”.  Her mother drew the now famous blue and yellow flag of Ukraine, and the little girl carried on from there, ‘drawing Ukraine’.  And this is what she drew.

Interview with one of our Ukrainian Guests

Recently Hanna, one of our Ipswich-based Ukrainian guests, at last managed to return to her home city of Odesa to visit her husband and family.  On Saturday, 22 July, they decided to visit Odesa's famous Transfiguration Cathedral - the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site which was also the place in which she was married, and where her daughter was christened.  The very next day, as many of us saw on the news, the Cathedral was destroyed by a Russian missile attack.  In this interview, Hanna, now safely back in Ipswich, shares some of her thoughts and feelings - about Odesa, about Ipswich, about life in all its uncertainties.

our response to the ukraine crisis

In liaison with our local authorities and other civil partnerships, the Together for Ipswich (TFI) Ukraine Response seeks to support and coordinate those among the 85+ Ipswich Churches that are responding to the crisis in Ukraine.

We provide a matching facility, by introducing potential Ipswich sponsors (or hosts) to reliable Ukrainian guest contacts. We offer support to the hosts by means of cultural and trauma awareness training, and host forums (a learning community for host families).

We offer support to Ukrainian guests by means of Community Hubs, which deliver English language classes, sewing classes, cafes and clothing banks, and give space and opportunity for Ukrainians to support one another.

TFI has also hosted Prayer Vigils and Suffolk (minibus) Tours, and provides signposting for community orientation and cohesion, employment, and housing opportunities.

Although primarily an Ipswich-focussed response, those representing or collaborating with TFI have also delivered supplies to the Poland/Ukraine borders, funded and equipped partners undertaking similar initiatives in Romania and Moldova, and trained other like-minded groups across the Balkans, as well as across other parts of East Anglia.

With an entirely different strategy to address their very different needs, TFI is now coordinating and supporting the efforts of various Ipswich churches as they reach out to those seeking asylum and presently living in local hotels.

We seek landlords, sponsors (hosts), ESOL teachers, Day Centre volunteer workers etc. If you would like to volunteer with us, please contact Alan Cutting, TFI Ukrainian Response lead, on or 07834 693144.

Ipswich Vigil for Ukraine 2023

To remember the first anniversary of the recent invasion of Ukraine, an Ipswich Vigil for Ukraine took place on the Ipswich Town Hall steps on Friday 24 February 2023.

Hosted in a partnership between Ukrainian community members, Ipswich in Prayer, Ipswich Borough Council, St Mary-le-Tower and Together for Ipswich, the event brought together approximately 300-400 people for the purpose of 'prayer, solidarity and unity'.  Many of them wore blue and yellow clothing, and were draped in blue and yellow flags.
Opening with his much-loved song 'Prayer for Peace' (written as a direct response to the Ukrainian crisis), Andy Rayner and his choir set the scene on what was to be a poignant but extraordinarily atmospheric evening.  As the sun set and darkness descended on the Cornhill, the crowd became increasingly aware of the yellow and blue hue that floodlit the grandeur of the Town Hall.  

Hosted by Revd Tom Mumford (vicar, St Mary-le-Tower Church, Ipswich), and with introductory contributions from Councillor John Cook (Mayor of Ipswich), and His Hon Judge Martyn Levett (Honorary Recorder of Ipswich), Alan Cutting (Together for Ipswich Ukraine Response lead) then thanked the various agencies, sponsors and employers who have contributed to the welcome of our Ukrainian community.  He went on to appeal for the ongoing support of our guests, outlining the challenges they are facing to secure employment and independent housing options, before reading Psalm 27.

With Liz Beaton by her side, Ukrainian Natalie Lawrence then prayed passionately for her country and its people - "Please Lord, bring Peace to Ukraine, Freedom, and a Bright New Future! Bring Justice, Righteousness, Healing, and Reconciliation. - Господи, принеси Мир Україні, Свободу та Світле Нове Майбутнє! Принеси Справедливість, Праведність, Зцілення та Примирення."
Natalie invited the crowd to say the Lord's Prayer together, each in his or her own language, before a beautiful, almost haunting rendition of Mykola Lysenko's "Bozhe velykyj, jedynyj" ("Oh Lord, Almighty and Only", and also called Prayer for Ukraine on poetry by Oleksandr Konysky), rang out across the silent Cornhill, while the crowd, some of them quietly weeping, reflected during a minute's silence, and candles were lit and torch lights shone from one hundred peoples' phones.  
The evening ended with the bells of St Mary-le-Tower calling back to us across the town, and hundred's of people who had braved the bitterly cold evening stayed longer still, to meet, pray, hug and weep with one another.    

Ukraine Response Review

Publication now available

Our 51 page review of the way local churches have welcomed those from the Ukrainian community who made Ipswich their home in 2022 is published here. The review includes the ways we have sought to match sponsors (hosts) with guests, the cultural training we have given, the community hubs we have set up, the lessons we've learned as we've worked alongside other providers, events such as Vigils and Job Fairs, and stories from hosts, Ukrainian guests and service providers.