Hobbies and leisure activities

Available activities in Cambridge City and the South Cambridgeshire district

We have collaborated with a range of generous organisations to provide a variety of options for guests to get out and about, explore places, and try activities within the district and Cambridge city centre. 

Association of Ukrainians

The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) is the UK's largest representative organisation for Ukrainians and people of Ukrainian origin. It exists to develop, promote, and support the Ukrainian community in the United Kingdom.

The AUGB has active branches throughout England and Wales and are mostly operated by volunteer teams from local communities. Their Branches host a variety of cultural, educational, social, and charity events, as well as supporting local youth and women's organisations, cultural groups and other organisations. Many collaborate with local authorities and organisations to provide facilities for displaced Ukrainians to reconnect with their roots and receive the assistance they require.

Locally, they support Ukrainian Community Schools, Day Centres, and a variety of cultural and social events around the United Kingdom.

Find more information on their website.

How to apply for a Better Health membership

Better leisure centres, sports facilities, pools and gyms across England and Wales are supporting refugees resettling in England and Wales with a free Better Health Centre (Off-Peak) membership for a fixed 6-month period. The scheme is open to all Ukrainian refugees who have been granted refugee resettlement status in the last 12 months by the UK Government. Individual refugees can apply directly, while family hosts, charities such as RESET, the Red Cross and the Refugee Council can also apply on behalf of a refugee.

All Better-operated facilities across England and Wales are participating in the scheme, including leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools. In Cambridgeshire, these are:

Parkside Pools and Gym Gonville Place, Cambridge CB1 1LY

Jesus Green Lido Off Chesterton Road, Cambridge CB4 3AX

Abbey Leisure Complex Whitehill Road, Cambridge CB5 8NT

Kings Hedges Learner Pool Jedburgh Court, Buchan Street, Cambridge CB4 2XF

Cherry Hinton Village Leisure Centre Colville Road, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge CB1 9EJ

Cambridge Ice Arena Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8AA

The Hive Leisure Centre Ely 15 Ely Leisure Village, Downham Road, Ely CB6 2FE

The charity Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services (CCVS) is running FREE Volunteering Workshops for Ukrainian refugees for them to learn how to become a volunteer.

Volunteering in your local community is a great way to make new friends. It can also change lives, fight isolation and improve wellbeing, confidence and skills. This goes towards making our communities better places to live and sometimes even leading to, or helping with, acquiring paid work.

There are 4 free-to-attend and in-person sessions running on 23 February, 2 March, 9 March and 16 March, from 10am to 1pm, at 16-18 Arbury Court, Cambridge CB4 2JQ.

For further information, or to register to attend, call 07840989719 or email ellie@cambridgecvs.org.uk

Following the sessions, attendees will be offered 1:1 support to find and apply to the right volunteering opportunities.

Apply for a laptop

We have partnered with the Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign (CRRC) and provided them with funding that will allow them to supply further laptops to Ukrainian guests who have arrived in South Cambridgeshire as part of the Homes for Ukraine programme. Guests can now apply for one of these laptops, for free, and, additionally, we are also looking for residents and businesses to support this initiative by donating laptops. Any devices are acceptable for donation.

For corporate donations Laptops4Learning (L4L) will send their Tech Couriers to the company by prior arrangement. L4L tech couriers will bring the devices back to their repair centre based in Stevenage. The devices will be repaired / refurbished/ securely data erased to HMG InfoSec Standard 5 Enhanced and a certificate of erase provided by serial number for each device. Audits are provided in full showing the devices collected, along with feedback on who received the donations for use in Company newsletters and data for the CSR, sustainability figures on waste are also provided. If you are part of a local business that wants to donate laptops for re-use to those in need or if you have questions and would like information on the scheme please contact sue@laptops4learning.co.uk or email the admin team.

How to join the library

Joining the library is free (no proof of address is needed). Cambridgeshire libraries are encouraging guests from Ukraine to visit the library to find a place where you can connect with other local people, and use their computers and Wi-Fi to connect with loved ones online. You can use the library to:

  • Use study spaces, Wi-Fi, computers and printers
  • Browse books and borrow up to 12 items at a time
  • Read eNewspapers in many languages
  • Come to library events
  • Join a reading group
  • Join free story times and rhyme-times for children and their parents/carers.

You can join the library free online.

The National Trust is offering a named 6-month free admission pass

The pass will be for all adult refugees and children under the age of 18 and enable refugees to visit independently of the host family they are living with. If the recipient of the pass is here for longer than 6-months, they can apply for a new pass once their existing one expires. Passes should be received within two to three weeks of application.

Hosts can request a 6-month named pass for refugees living with a non National Trust member by emailing supporter.operations@nationaltrust.org.uk including the names of their guests, their address and whether they need an individual adult or family pass.

Community Groups can also request single use passes for visits to National Trust properties for refugees they are hosting, asking for two passes per person up to a max of 100 people. Please ask your Community Group representative to email supporter.operations@nationaltrust.org.uk with their request for the single use access passes. They must state the number of passes they need (two passes per person up to a max of 100 people, so a maximum of 200 passes in total) and the name and the address of where the passes should be sent to. Single use access passes do not need to be named and the Community Group representative does not need to be an active National Trust member to request the passes.

You can find out more about some of the beautiful and varied National Trust sites around the country which you can visit with these amazing free pass offers on the National Trust website.

Apply for free entry to the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens

The Cambridge University Botanic Garden is generously providing free admission to the Botanic Garden for Ukrainian refugees living in South Cambridgeshire. Their goal is to welcome Ukrainian refugees to the Garden, give them access to a beautiful green space in Cambridge, and show them what the Garden has to offer as an educational and leisure centre in the city. Free tickets are now available and being offered to those over the age of 16 (children aged 16 and under are already admitted free of charge). Host families will need to pay the standard garden admission fee if they visit with their guests. Guests can now apply for their tickets by filling out the application form. The tickets will be offered one per person and will be distributed weekly via post. 

Enjoy a free group visit to Wimpole Hall

The Wimpole Estate, a National Trust property to the south-west of Cambridge, is offering local community groups free admission to the estate and its facilities. A visit to its gardens, the estate and Wimpole Hall provides an enjoyable day out as well as promoting health and wellbeing.

The Community Group Admission Pass will give free access to the Estate for up to 16 people and can be used on any day except bank holidays and the weekends preceding bank holidays.  

Those working with or running community groups for Ukrainian guests and their hosts are asked to email wimpolehall@nationaltrust.org.uk or call the estate before coming, stating the name of your group, the number of people and approximate time of arrival.  Please complete an application form [PDF], and return it with your email. Where practical, community groups are encouraged to visit during weekdays as Wimpole can get very busy at weekends when there may be less scope to cater for additional needs. 

Wimpole Estate consists of a historic mansion, beautiful gardens, a show farm and extensive parkland, there is plenty of free parking for cars and minibuses, a visitor reception centre, electric buggies to assist people with limited mobility, as well as cafes and shops. 

Apply for financial help

Financial help is now being offered to Ukrainian families to help them to integrate into British community life thanks to a new grant scheme we have launched. Up to £300 per project is offered for a wide range of events to help reduce social isolation and encourage families to feel involved in their local community and life in Britain. A grant fund total of £20,000 is open for applicants until the end of the 2022/23 financial year funded by central government. Project ideas include buying books for English language classes, ingredients to fund a cookery day, venue hire or travel costs to take Ukrainian guests on a trip to Cambridge to see the sights. But, as we say, the most important aim is to help people to integrate. Parish councils, community groups, informal groups or individual hosts can apply. Applications will be assessed weekly to ensure a quick turnaround. Criteria, guidance and an application form can be found on our website.

Chance for young guests to channel their inner actor

Free drama sessions for Ukrainian guest children and young adults aged 9 to 15 are available at Cottenham Community Centre. The sessions run fortnightly on Thursdays from 3.45 to 5.15pm. They start off with a fun physical warm-up as a group, followed by a variety of drama activities and games, ranging from word games and facial expressions, to splitting up into different groups or pairs and acting out scenes in a variety of comical or serious situations. The group is led by Sheila Gosling, a Drama Worker from Cottenham with years of experience with groups of all ages and abilities, and will continue to meet every other week, encouraging different ways of communication, entertainment, and allowing hidden talents to shine. For more information email Sheeba3434@hotmail.com.

Cambridgeshire's open spaces

There are lots of benefits in continuing to make the most of the big open outdoors during the upcoming winter months. These include fresh air and an escape from indoor germs, continuing physical development and wellbeing, a boost for learning opportunities and social interaction with others.

Cambridgeshire has lots of green open spaces, including many parks where children can play safely and most of which are free to access. Location details, opening hours and other information can be found on an interactive map on the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Parks website.

Outdoor Forest School for 8 to 11-year-olds

A special outdoor Forest School, which started at Milton Country Park last weekend, still has a few places available for children aged 8 to11 from families who are registered under the Homes for Ukraine scheme in South Cambridgeshire.

The weekly sessions will run for seven weeks offering fresh air, lots of fun activities and a chance to make friends as the children learn through hands-on experience in a natural setting, thereby helping to develop their confidence and self-esteem. 

The programme includes bushcraft skills, playing games, making friends, building dens, pond dipping, treasure hunts and lots more. The sessions will be held at the Wild Place at Milton Country Park on Sunday mornings from 10am to 12pm, continuing from this weekend (12 November) through to 18 December. For more information or to register interest in attending, email to ufs@cambridgesportlakes.org.uk

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