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Plea for more New Forest Ukraine refugee help

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A NEW Forest volunteer group is asking the community to continuing donating urgently needed provisions to support Ukrainian refugees.

The recently launched New Forest for Ukraine group, a community interest company, said the need for basic provisions such as food, toiletries, baby supplies and bedding is now even greater than at the start of the war because supplies are running low.

The volunteers aim to send two lorry loads of supplies to refugee support groups in Poland and Ukraine every week.

Volunteers recently launched New Forest for Ukraine CIC to co-ordinate weekly trips from the area
Volunteers recently launched New Forest for Ukraine CIC to co-ordinate weekly trips from the area

However, after receiving a huge number of donations in the initial weeks of the war supplies are now getting short.

Spokesperson Paulina Gruszka said: “We have the lorries and the volunteer drivers ready to go but donations have really slowed down so we need another big push.

“In a way the situation is more desperate than ever because at the beginning of the war Ukrainians still had some supplies but these are running out.

“We ship as much as possible directly to people we know in Poland and Ukraine to ensure the right support gets to the right people as quickly as possible.

“We get weekly updates on the latest requirements and ensure we flex what we collect and ship accordingly.”

Christchurch Rotary's street collection
Christchurch Rotary's street collection

The group, which has 20 drop-off locations across the New Forest, transports supplies to Poznan and Glogow in Poland and Lyubar and Stebnyk in Ukraine.

Paulina added: “We basically send everything except clothing – so dry food, soaps, shampoos, tooth paste, baby wipes, nappies and baby food, pillows and sleeping bags.

“Wheeled bags are very helpful as refugees are often moving around, so they have a way of transporting their things.”

Fundraising in aid of Ukrainian refugees has continued locally too with a fete and Rotary club support among continued efforts across the New Forest and Christchurch.

A small group of Bransgore residents raised £4,000 by staging a spring fete last month, assisted by the local community and parish council.

The generosity of hundreds of attendees was added to by donations from Bransgore Rotary Club, the Gym Tin, Village Quiz, Bransgore Community First Aid Association, Slades Estate Agents and the Co-op.

All proceeds went to New Forest for Ukraine, with the total surpassing the original target of £1,200 to fuel one truck to take donations from the New Forest directly to the Polish/Ukrainian border.

Fundraising at Bransgore spring fete
Fundraising at Bransgore spring fete

Christchurch Rotary Club followed up a £1,000 donation to the Red Cross appeal for Ukraine and the Rotary Healthcare Fellowship Appeal for Ukraine with a £2,000 hand-out to a sister Rotary club at Chelm in Poland.

A Zoom conference call between the two clubs helped Christchurch Rotarians understand the scale of the problem and how donations could specifically help.

Christchurch Rotary president-elect Vincent Banks said: “It was wonderful to meet Agnieszka Grzywaczewska, the president of Chelm Rotary Club, by Zoom.

“We were most impressed by the help that her Rotary Club has provided to Ukrainian refugees, in cooperation with other Rotary clubs from Poland, Germany, France and Israel.”

The club also held a street collection in the town on 11th April, raising £679 for the UK-wide Rotary appeal.

Meanwhile, a welcome pack to help Ukrainians settle in the UK has been launched by BCP Council. For more information, visit bit.ly/3kQIrlN

The 26-page booklet includes advice on support payments, opening bank accounts, connecting with the wider community and registering for a doctor. A booklet for sponsors is also available. For more information, visit bit.ly/3kQIrlN

Visit www.newforestforukraine.co.uk or to donate visit bit.ly/3M1PCDC

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