We would like to begin by telling you the story of our friend Antonis who had just arrived in Brighton for his first year at the University of Sussex. On his first night out Antonis, or Tony as his flatmates started calling him, went to his first club night. At some point during the night Michelle, one of his flatmates turns to him with a big smile and asks “Are you Tipsy”? He turns to her with wonder and disappointment and says “No..I’m Tony”. The reason I wanted to share this story, other than for its humorous nature, is because it highlights a very basic problem – the language barrier. It takes time to integrate ourselves in a new country and there usually is an inevitable language and cultural barrier which can present many challenges. However, it goes beyond those. Our friend Ioanna had moved to Brighton for work on a very short notice. Her mother, panicked as any mother would be, reached out to us and asked if we could please help Ioanna integrate smoothly but also help her find housing. We can still remember the mother’s response, full of love and genuine appreciation, when we informed her than Ioanna not only had a house to stay, but has already been introduced to the community and has made many new and caring friends. From personal experience, and by communicating with our people, we gathered that preparing for UCAS applications, finding housing, building a CV and finding part time job opportunities are challenges that most students including ourselves had and still have to face. It was evident that there was a clear need to help people during this sensitive transitional period, which led to the inception of Brighton Greeks. We reached out to our peers and put together a strong and passionate team determined to make an impact. In our early meetings we all agreed that “This is going to be tough. But if we all pull together and hang in there, we’ll achieve something amazing”. Even though we are still at our humble beginnings, we are blessed to have reached this far. We truly feel the love and support from the community but also from our amazing mentors. We are proud with what we have achieved and we hope to continue to change lives, grow, and inspire others with the help of like-minded people and organisations.
Brighton Greeks was founded in 2014 and is an organisation that has the Greek community’s interest at heart in the wider Brighton area. Brighton Greeks is dedicated to the mission of “creating a home away from home”, by connecting Greeks and Cypriots, organising events and cultural activities as well as offering consultation services such as housing and employment opportunities, in order to make the acclimatization process of immigration as seamless as possible. What makes Brighton Greeks unique are the strong relationships we have actively built and continue to grow with local businesses, societies and the Greek Orthodox Church. Members of the community truly feel that they have a voice and that their ideas and opinions are valued and heard. We have made giving back an integral part of our organisation with our not-for-profit community activities, our work on humanitarian projects and through Hellenic Society sponsorships. We always aim to promote and maintain the Hellenic culture, language, history and customs.
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