An amazing response for Ukraine refugees

Volunteers organising a collection to support 
Ukrainian refugees have seen an overwhelming response from Sleaford residents and businesses.

A donations centre set up at the town’s Masonic Hall in Watergate on Sunday saw queues of cars waiting to drop off items to help the 1.5 million refugees already said to have fled Russian attacks, carrying little or no possessions, into neighbouring European countries, mainly Poland.

Chris Wiliams from Shire Lodge of the Masons said the doors opened from 9.30am to 3.30pm and well-meaning people flooded in with provisions non-stop all day.

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The appeal had asked for such things as blankets, towels, sleeping bags, thermal clothing, female sanitary products, nappies, wipes, first aid supplies, tinned food and baby food.

People pour into Sleaford Masonic Rooms with bags of donations for the Ukraine appeal. Photo: David Dawson

He said: “We had four or five cars queueing up outside at a time. A local company has donated a ton of food.

Sleafordian sent a bus load of stuff. Boston FC and several Women’s Institutes came from Bourne. It’s amazing. A lot of people turned up and stayed to help sort the things out, meaning we ended up with 40 volunteers, which is the only reason we managed to keep up. Everyone was shattered when we closed the doors.”

He said they were continuing to sort things out into boxes on Monday and Tuesday ready for transport on to Worksop or Flixborough before heading to eastern Europe. He estimated it would easily fill half a 10 ton lorry

“It has been a fantastic community project,” said Chris. “It started with a couple of comments and mushroomed. We just wanted to do something to help and couldn’t find anywhere in Sleaford that was doing something.”

Leadenham farmer Andrew Ward has offered use of his barns to store donations if groups are struggling to cope before delivery to Poland.