Ukraine conflict: How you can help locally

Ukrainian refugees arrive at the Medyka border crossing, Poland, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/

Ukrainian refugees arrive at the Medyka border crossing, Poland - Credit: AP

The bloody invasion of Ukraine by Russia has left many from our region deeply moved and desperate to help in some way. Here, SARAH HUSSAIN, rounds up some of the local schemes launched to support the Ukrainian people.

RECEPTION AREAS BECOME COLLECTION HUBS

Natalka Auker, from Downham Market, is co-ordinating collection efforts in west Norfolk to gather much-needed supplies for people displaced by the violence.

She has got involved for very personal reasons: Her mother is Ukrainian and she has family living near the city of Ivano-Frankivsk, in the west of the country.

IB ukraine service

A vigil was held outside Lynn Town Hall on Friday, February 25 for the people of Ukraine. - Credit: Ian Burt

Her relatives have told her that the local airport was bombed on the first day of the invasion. They said they were safe but that there was very little food on the shelves, as a result of supply problems and provisions being sent to troops.

"The weather in Ukraine is currently extremely cold and for people who have been displaced from their homes, this is worsening their already dire situation," she added.

Items that can be donated include paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin and other first-aid supplies, Ovaltine, hot chocolate, protein bars, porridge, oats, nappies, sanitary towels, toiletries, and warm clothes - hats, scarves, gloves or thermals for adults, children and babies.

Natalka Auker, from Downham Market, has delivered donations to St Olga's Church in Peterborough.

Natalka Auker (pictured left), from Downham Market, has delivered donations to St Olga's Church in Peterborough. - Credit: Natalka Auker

Ms Auker is a volunteer at Cats Protection in Stowbridge and is asking for items to be dropped off at Vets1 in either Downham Market or King's Lynn.

The company has turned its reception area into a humanitarian aid collection point.

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The practices are almost full with the amount of donations it can take, and Ms Auker is asking if other businesses are able to offer space to store further items until Friday.

Once assembled, the items will be taken to the St Olga Ukrainian Catholic Church in Peterborough, which has created a centralised donation drop off facility for East Anglia. From there, donated items are being sent to refugee camps in Poland and elsewhere.

Donations at St Olga Ukrainian Catholic Church in Peterborough

Donations at St Olga Ukrainian Catholic Church in Peterborough. - Credit: Natalka Auker

CHARITIES GET INVOLVED

Access, a charity that supports migrants in East Anglia, is collecting medical supplies at its King's Lynn building at 41 St James Lodge, Old Hosp Mews, Hospital Walk, King's Lynn.

It said there is urgent need of medical and first aid supplies to treat the injured and wounded.

Items needed include anti diarrhoea tablets, Nurofen, activated charcoal, bandages, gauze, antiseptic spray and wipes, Sudocream, Corvalol/Baclofen, Antihistamines, batteries, flash lights, candles, first aid kits and sleeping bags. 

The donations will then be driven over to refugee camps in Poland.

Vets1 in Downham Market and King's Lynn has been collecting items for Ukraine.

Vets1 in Downham Market and King's Lynn has been collecting items for Ukraine, which will be transported to St Olga'c Church in Peterborough. - Credit: Vets1

Pride Animal Rescue, which has a charity shop on Mere Street in Diss, has been collecting donations and is currently inundated with items.

It has teamed up with Diss Ironworks at 7 St Nicholas Street (IP22 4LB) to take in donations at its shop, and the items will be collected from both shops and distributed further.

Diss Ironworks is holding a collection space from Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm, and Saturday 10am to 4pm.

NORWICH HUB SET UP

One Agency in Thorpe Road, Norwich, is offering its reception as a hub for people to donate medical supplies to, and is asking people to donate if they would like to help out a little. It said everything collected will be transported directly to border at Ukraine and Poland.

The first shipment will be leaving the agency on Tuesday and additional ones will take place over the next few days and weeks.

Items collected overnight at One Agency in Norwich.

Items collected overnight at One Agency in Norwich. - Credit: One Agency

PUBS DO THEIR BIT

The Garden House, in Norwich, has been running quiz nights, raffles and collections to raise funds to help those in need. Jonathon Childs, from the pub, said: "We can't stand by and not help the displaced people."

Staff raised £175 and Mr Childs said the money has been sent to Poland to help buy urgent items for those fleeing the conflict.

The Railway Tavern, in Dereham, has helped coordinate drop off points in the town and said it is running events in the coming weeks to help raise funds.

It is seeking volunteers who can assist with collecting and packing goods to get in touch with its team. It said all its donations will be dropped off at either Morrison's or other available drop-off points. Contact the pub on 01362 288166.

GARDEN CENTRE CONTRIBUTES

Moulton Garden Centre, on Acle Road in Moulton St Mary, near Norwich, collected items this week to be sent to refugees in Poland.

It has since stopped taking collections from 2pm on Wednesday.The donations will be transported to London for onward distribution.

Sleeping bags for Ukranian refugees at the Mandalay Wellbeing Community Interest Charity (CIC).

Sleeping bags for Ukranian refugees at the Mandalay Wellbeing Community Interest Charity (CIC). - Credit: James Weeds

FOODBANK DONATES STOCK

In Great Yarmouth, Mandalay Wellbeing Community Interest Charity (CIC) in Victoria Arcade is donating its surplus stock to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

The foodbank, which is closing soon, has prepared tents and sleeping bags, sanitary products and nappies, and food and clothing to be distributed to Poland to help those who have been affected by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Manager Trevor Saunders, 55, said a lorry is set to travel through Poland shortly and the donated items will be left at a distribution centre in the country.

Trevor Saunders (left) with Bradie Hubbard, store manager of Tesco Caister, and volunteers at Mandalay Wellbeing CIC

Trevor Saunders (left) with Bradie Hubbard, store manager of Tesco Caister, and volunteers at Mandalay Wellbeing CIC - Credit: James Weeds

Fifty Rapid Relief Team food boxes - which contain things such as tinned fruit and veg, UHT milk and instant soups - will also be taken to Poland.

Mr Saunders said: "I understand it is a warzone and a lot of refugees are entering Poland with nothing. 

"We have to do something."

Ian Odgers from Dereham started the appeal to get jackets across to those affected by the conflict in Ukraine. 

Ian Odgers from Dereham started the appeal to get jackets across to those affected by the conflict in Ukraine. - Credit: Ian Odgers

DEREHAM DELIVERS

Ian Odgers, from Dereham, started an essential goods appeal on February 28 to get items across to those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

He arranged to get donations dropped off at the town's Morrisons, through the store's community champion, Leanne Jarman. And is now adding additional donation spaces and trailers at the supermarket to increase capacity.

Following contact with the Ukrainian embassy in London, he is asking for warm clothes, boots, military equipment such as helmets and knee pads, sleeping bags, ground mats, walky-talkies, nappies, wheelchairs, baby food and non-perishable food items.

Mr Odgers asks that these donations be labelled to help them sort out items quickly, before they are transported from Norfolk down to the capital.

Items can be dropped off at Morrisons on Station Road, Waites and Stones Ltd in Swaffham, between 9am - 3pm, and 4pm - 5:30pm, Monday to Friday. Items can also be delivered directly to Mr Odgers' workplace, Peerless Plastics and Coatings in Thetford. He has asked that donors message him first before doing so.

Family Movers, a removal and storage firm, has offered to transport emergency items for The Ukraine Appeal from Dereham.

It will have a truck and trailer parked up at Morrison's in the town from 7am to 5pm on Wednesday and Thursday this week to allow people to donate items. It will then transport the donations to the London embassy on Friday.

NIGHTCLUB OPENS DOORS

Bar and Beyond in King's Lynn will be holding a drop-off point on Thursday, March 3 between 2pm and 6pm for clothing donations.

It is in response to the British Red Cross appeal to the "existing and emerging humanitarian needs" in Ukraine. The club will also be donating lost property items that have been at the premises for six weeks without being claimed.

It said it had a "large pile" containing coats, jackets and jumpers, and asked for people to collect any items belonging to them before Thursday.

COMMUNITIES COME TOGETHER

The generosity of a Norwich community was seen this weekend, when people queued up outside the Wilberforce Road community centre to donate blankets, cosmetics, hygiene products, sleeping bags and baby products, to community interest company Norfolk Polonia, which runs the Norwich Polish Centre in West Earlham.

The community has pulled together and donated bags upon bags of essentials to Ukrainian refugees.

The community has pulled together and donated bags upon bags of essentials to Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Paweł Jelenski

Its volunteers, who were overwhelmed by the donated pile of goods, are taking the items to Polish White Eagle Club in London. It will then be transported to the Polish border to help those in need.

And a similar story was shared over in Great Yarmouth, as critical supplies for Ukrainian refugees came flooding in to the collection point at Alitherm in Brinell Way on the Harfrey's industrial estate.

Operations manager Diane Green said someone was pulling up every ten minutes to drop off donations, and the whole office was filled in just a few days.

Great Yarmouth collection point for people caught in Ukraine conflict

Dozens of people have dropped off critical supplies to Alitherm in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Liz Coates

The donations will be taken to Norwich Homeless Support CIC on Thursday, which will distribute the items.

Items can be dropped off from 9am to 5pm with further collection dates being arranged.

Approved list of items including vehicle repair tools, jump leads, thermals, socks, toiletries, batteries, torches, medical supplies, barrier cream, vapour rub, painkillers, dressings, packaged snacks like nuts, dried soups, peanut butter in plastic jars, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and shower gel.

Warehouse manager, Glen Player, at Camvac Limited in Thetford has set up an initiative to supply aid to Ukraine, which involves the company funding shipment of goods in a large truck to the border at Poland and Ukraine for refugees.

It is calling on local businesses to donate to the cause if it can by leaving sealed parcels and boxes at its reception on Burrell Way (IP24 3QY) of contacting the warehouse manager on glen.player@camvac.com to arrange drop off's for larger contributions.

Camvac is collecting clothing, food, medical supplies, nappies, baby products, pet food and toys, personal hygiene items, torches and toys.

It asks for items to be separated into bags and labelled with the contents.

Pride Homecare in Attleborough are also holding an appeal and are asking people to donate toiletries.

Items include paracetamol, cold/flu treatment, bandages, first aid kits, surgical creams, cough syrup, coffee sachets, milk powder, cup of soups, tea bags, sugar sachets, toothbrushes, tooth paste, wet wipes, toilet roll, shower gel, socks and thermals.

SCHOOL DONATION DROP OFF POINT

Happisburgh CE VA Primary and Early Years School has set up a donations drop off point in its office foyer after committee and junior committee members discussed ways of helping Ukrainians. 

It is asking for donations of toiletries, nappies, wipes, baby milk and baby food, sanitary products, medical supplies, sleeping bags, blankets, towels, warm clothes - coats, jumpers, trousers, scarves and gloves, shoes and boots, clean teddies, toys and games, tinned and dried foods.

The school's collection point is open between 8.40am to 3.15pm on school days. It will also be open from 10am to 12pm on Sundays.

It said it is working closely with MP Duncan Baker to arrange collections.

Happisburgh CE VA primary and early years school has set up a Ukraine donations drop off point.

Happisburgh CE VA Primary and Early Years School has set up a Ukraine donations drop off point. Picture shows what was collected in the first five hours of it opening. - Credit: Happisburgh CE VA Primary and Early Years School

COMMUNITY HOSPITAL CREATES DONATION HUB

Wells Community Hospital on Mill Road in Wells-next-the-Sea has created a donation hub in its reception area. It is asking for essential items (other than clothing and bedding) to be donated, which will then be taken to the nearest central distribution hub.

Help for Ukrainians

The UK Government has announced concessions to allow Ukrainians to join family members in the UK.

These applications are free of charge. Norfolk Community Law Service (NCLS) is offering priority advice for these applications and will guide people through the process.

For more information contact the Immigration Advice Service on immigration@ncls.co.uk or call 01603 851247. All its services are free. 

The EDP launched an Aid for Ukraine appeal to raise vital funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee. To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/edp-ukraine

Are you coordinating support in response to the crisis in Ukraine? Get in touch with sarah.hussain@archant.co.uk with details.