Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Locals step up for Ukraine

People in West Berkshire are stepping up to help the people of the Ukraine, following the Russian invasion of the country. More than two million people have now fled Ukraine because of the Russian invasion, according to the United Nations (UN). The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has called it “the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two.”

In quick response, donations of vital supplies have been collected and delivered by local organisations, including pupils at Kennet School, Lojer Products in Thatcham, 500 Logistics in Thatcham, and the charity West Berkshire Action for Refugees. 

And, remarkably, Thatcham councillor Nassar Hunt has driven the 17-hour journey to the towns of Medyka and Przemyśl in Poland, to deliver much-needed supplies, as part of the charity The Parenting Network. Goods included basic hygiene and medical products, like plasters and paracetamol, nappies, and tinned food. He describes heart-breaking scenes in the refuge centres there:

“There were mums and kids, shell-shocked, scared, and sombre, with the realisation that they’ve lost probably everything.”

He also reports the growing loss of life of people trying to reach safety, walking by foot to the border in severe winter conditions.

Local people are also giving to charity, notably the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee). David Oats, the Treasurer of the Newbury Branch of Christian Aid, explains the strategic importance of the DEC:

“The DEC was founded in the 1960s by Christian Aid, to bring together fifteen charities across the world. Co-ordinated humanitarian relief efforts can be made, to avoid waste and duplication between charities. Organisations are working on the front line, with established links and partner organisations. The money is used almost instantly to provide food, shelter, clothing, blankets – the means for staying alive.”

So, here are some ways to help:

  • Give to the DEC Ukraine Emergency Appeal which includes includes Oxfam. The Red Cross, Tear Fund, ActionAid, and Christian Aid
  • Donate here to the Oxfam Facebook fundraiser for Ukraine
  • Drop off items any time from Monday 14th to Friday 18th March, between 8.30am and 5.30pm, to the 500 Logistics office at Unit 9, Rivermead Business Park, Thatcham, RG14 9EP. Items being accepted are batteries, torches, sturdy boxes, special diet non-perishables (gluten or lactose free, vegan) and thermos flasks/insulated cups
  • Hold a fund-raising event – are you holding a jumble sale, coffee morning, raffle or a sponsored skydive ? Let us know about it at [email protected] 

Pictured: A Ukrainian refugee in Romania