Unique Community is the descendant of the Russian Immigrants Association (RIAs) founded in 1999 to help Russian-speaking immigrants integrate into British society. Our Executive Director, Natalia Nikolaeva set the charity up in response to both her own personal experience as an asylum seeker from Russia and the overwhelming need for new arrivals in need of; practical advice, community spirit and help to understand their new surroundings.
Our leading project was the Drop-in Centre. We established relationships with solicitors and local service providers to help direct clients to the most appropriate help required. We provided a crucial bridge; working in close collaboration with British systems while meeting our clients with familiar, Russian voices. We are proud to have helped the hundreds of people who visited or called.
“Our son has a disability and we would not have been able to survive here without the support of the Russian Immigrants Association.” (Drop-in-Centre Client, 1999)
The Russian Immigrants Association ran a myriad of community projects from international food festivals to children's activity clubs and a club for 60+. Every project aimed to enhance integration and make the process of leaving one home to create another as painless and hopefully enjoyable as possible. We have been developing community projects for 20 years but the world has changed since 1999. In our new form, with two decades of experience, we aim to address the issues that most affect people today, hand in hand with local residents. As a charity, we feel that it is our duty to respond to the ever-changing world which is why we have evolved to become Unique Community.
“You captured our childhood beautifully.”
(Audience member, Tales of Russia Verbatim Theatre Project 2009)