Dorking waste collection team celebrate Refugee Week with new recruit

14 June 2021
Ezzedin Salim (centre) is joined by Nicola Blake (right) and Constance Chanteux (left) at Amey's Dorking depot

This year’s Refugee Week (14 – 20 June) is being celebrated in Dorking after a partnership between Mole Valley’s waste collection contractor, Amey, and Dorking Refugee Support landed former refugee Ezzedin Salim, from Darfur in Sudan, with a full-time waste loader role.

In 2016, Ezzedin, 24, arrived in the UK with very little English language having fled Sudan, where he left behind a large family that includes 10 siblings.

Dorking residents Lee and Christopher Mansfield welcomed Ezzedin to their family home in 2017, when he enrolled on a course at East Surrey College and began working closely with Constance Chanteux, a volunteer at Dorking Refugee Support, who taught him English over a two-year period.

Four years later, and having mastered fluent English, Ezzedin is still with Amey full time. He also continues to live with Lee and Christopher, to whom he refers to as mum and dad.

Constance Chanteux has volunteered with Dorking Refugee Support, an informal group of local residents trying to support refugees and asylum seekers, since 2015 alongside fellow coordinator, Keith Halsey.

She comments: “Ezzedin is a wonderful young man who has overcome adversity to become a valued member of the Dorking community. It’s important that the group continues to work directly with businesses such as Amey, for it is these opportunities that provide the stepping stones for people like Ezzedin, who are looking to begin a new chapter of their lives in a safe and welcoming environment.”

Nicola Blake, Account Director for Amey’s Waste Collections Services Team in Surrey, adds: “Providing members of our community with opportunities, regardless of their background, is important to us. Whether it’s young people via our apprenticeship scheme, former prison inmates looking for a fresh start or refugees from all over the world, everyone deserves a chance to shine and we’re committed to providing that. We’re delighted to have Ezzedin on the team. He’s hardworking and has quickly established a strong rapport with his colleagues.”

On his new role Ezzedin concludes: “Leaving my country was very difficult, and arriving in the UK without being able to speak English made it harder. I’ve studied hard and have been fortunate to have found Lee and Christopher, who continue to support me in everything I do. I’m very happy to be working at Amey and enjoy working with my colleagues.”

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June, Refugee Week is now a growing global movement.

For more information on Dorking Refugee Support and Refugee Week visit and respectively. For more information on how Amey is working with the community visit

Image caption: Ezzedin Salim with colleague Nicola Blake and Dorking Refugee Support’s Constance Chanteux