Dr Alex Kenchington

A new charity led by a former Southampton medical student is helping people around the world who have been devastated by conflict and war.

Last year, Dr Alex Kenchington, who graduated the University of Southampton in 2016 after completing the BM4 course, joined forces with Matt Simmons, Mell Clark and Becky Adamson after Matt put a call out for support during the emergency evacuation crisis in Afghanistan.

Ems4Afghans was used as a means of collecting donations of clothes and essential items from the local community and distributing them to those arriving in the UK on emergency evacuation flights.

Dr Alex Kenchington
Dr Alex Kenchington

The reaction was fantastic, but Alex and the team did not want to limit their success and together they formed Bridge to Unity to offer more support to individuals and families being relocated to the UK.

When the war in the Ukraine broke out, the charity was ready to act. They have raised more than £40,000 which has enabled the organisation to deliver over £20,000 worth of medical supplies directly to an NGO providing life-saving treatment at the Polish – Ukrainian borderland, in the conflict zone. The team have also used money raised to purchase the Polish NGO an ambulance, enabling them to expand and continue the heroic and crucial work that they do.

“The response has been amazing,” Alex said. “The support we’ve received from the community has enabled us to deliver vital equipment and funds to people in real need.”

Bridge to Unity are working in the community and with local hospitals in Hampshire to help people coming to the UK settle and integrate as smoothly as possible.

The team are a point of contact for anyone who needs assistance, be that practical support with completing forms and registering for services, or logistical support with attending appointments and understanding transport routes.

Alex, who is currently completing her GP training, explained: “Our charity now has volunteers in place to help people who have relocated. Coming to a new country is not easy in the best of times, let alone in times of conflict. It’s isolating and daunting, so we’ve now got dedicated volunteers in the community who can help people integrate in their new surroundings and help them find their feet.”

Alex started her BM4 course in 2012 after being inspired to follow a career in healthcare through volunteering with South Central Ambulance Service as a Community Responder and working in medical publica relations.
“I really enjoyed my time at the University of Southampton,” Alex said. “I had a baby in my third year, and I was always really supported throughout my studies. The course was amazing, especially because we worked with patients from my first year. I am now able to put all the lessons I learnt at University into practice in my GP surgery as well as with Bridge to Unity.”

Fundraising is ongoing and the team are in discussions with NGOs in Romania and Moldova to try and establish opportunities to deliver support to the incredible teams on the frontline of this humanitarian crisis. For more information visit https://www.bridgetounity.co.uk/

Medicine alumna helping families relocate to the UK due to conflict and war

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