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Schools and groups across the New Forest and Christchurch unite for Ukraine support



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GENEROUS schoolchildren and groups are continuing the area’s crusade to help refugees fleeing war in Ukraine.

Widespread collections of supplies to transport to refugees in Poland, including hundreds of children’s teddy bears, are among efforts, alongside online appeals collecting thousands of pounds.

On Tuesday a minibus packed with donated goods set off from Priestlands School in Pennington, bound for Polish schools which have taken in Ukrainian children.

Priestlands Ukraine support (55635160)
Priestlands Ukraine support (55635160)

This followed an appeal spearheaded by the North Street secondary school’s youngsters, who brought in specific items each day of last week.

These were pencil cases, wash bags filled with toiletries, first aid kits, sleeping bags and blankets, and school bags and water bottles.

Head teacher Peter Main told the A&T students wanting to “do something really meaningful” did some research and connected with a school in Sanok.

“We’re just delighted with how the students responded in wanting to help fellow students who are in a challenging situation,” Mr Main said on Tuesday.

“We’ve also had a very generous donation from our school uniform providers who have sent over PE kits for the Ukrainian students.

“We’ve heard from the school that a lot of the pupils going there come with nothing, so the donation of uniforms is really going to make a massive difference for them continuing their education.”

School governor Ben Williams set off in the minibus and, after unloading the supplies, he was due to spend a week transporting refugees.

Students have been able to keep tabs on his progress through a tracker fitted to the bus and daily video diary updates.

A JustGiving page (https://bit.ly/3twSge4) raising money for the trip smashed its initial £1,000 target within 48 hours.

The total stood at £8,721 on Tuesday, and funds will be used to purchase further supplies for refugee students.

“We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with the generosity of our local community,” Mr Main added.

The result of Highcliffe School's successful We Care Share a Bear drive
The result of Highcliffe School's successful We Care Share a Bear drive

Highcliffe School pupils supporting an appeal called We Care Share a Bear’s drive to collect teddy bears with personalised messages for Ukrainian children (https://bit.ly/3tvKUr3) donated more than 500 within days.

The project was instigated by languages teacher Clare Shephard who lives next door to the campaign’s founder in Southbourne.

As well as collecting the soft toys for youngsters in Ukraine and those evacuated to Poland, the Parkside secondary school raised £1,611 from its Red Nose Day non-uniform day last Friday. Comic Relief is giving a large share to Ukrainian children.

The school had already donated food, warm clothing, sleeping bags and blankets to refugee centres in Poland.

Head teacher Patrick Earnshaw said: “The kindness and compassion of Highcliffe School children is deeply moving and a wonderful example of our belief that educated young people are a force for good in the world.”

New Forest for Ukraine is bringing together people across the district to help support those affected by the Russian invasion.

Donations are collected at a growing number of drop-off sites, including in Lymington, New Milton, Brockenhurst and Bransgore.

Volunteers then transport them to a sorting centre in Lymington’s Ampress Park before shipping them to partnered Polish towns or to Ukraine itself.

The group has also set up a support network to help connect New Forest relatives of Ukrainians with sponsors offering local refugee accommodation.

For more information visit newforestforukraine.co.uk, email info@newforestforukraine.co.uk or call 07915 762456.

Erin Street raised hundreds with her cake sale
Erin Street raised hundreds with her cake sale

Seven-year-old Erin Street from Lymington raised over £300 selling home-baked cakes at Pennington Infant School on Monday and collecting donations from friends and neighbours.

She and her proud mother Rebecca were set to use the funds to buy essential supplies for Ukrainian refugee children, including stationery and medicine. These will then be sent to Poland by the Lymington Help Ukraine group (https://bit.ly/3N56zOu).



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