Welsh relief effort for Ukrainian refugees receives overwhelming response

When Park Vets organised their relief effort, they expected couple dozen donations from near-by neighbours…

Image by Maidah Khan.

“It has been an absolutely outstanding response from the public,” said Rhianne Wilkins, who works at Park Vets and volunteered to sort donations. “We’ve had people drop off Tesco deliveries for £120, people have been turning up in droves with toiletries and everything that they’ve bought brand new. It has been absolutely amazing.”

The donations were transported from Cardiff to the Westgate Hotel in Newport, where the city’s Polish community has set up a relief effort for Ukrainian refugees in Poland. 

Kamila Jarczak, who runs the photography group Women of Newport, teamed up with Polonia dla Ukrainy (Polish Community for Ukraine) and published a city-wide appeal for donations. What started as a small community effort, reached thousands across Wales—and in a few weeks, truck-loads of donations have been transported to Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

Dozens of businesses organised collection points and over 100 people volunteered to sort and pack donations. The hotel quickly became overwhelmed and donations were redirected to Rodney Parade, a rugby stadium in Newport.

James Rabaiotti, who volunteered to transport the donations from Park Vets, said: “Everybody wants to do something, everyone feels a bit helpless and this is kind of being proactive and doing something to help. The smaller things add up to a bigger picture.”

Organisers have now put a pause on donations and are asking for more volunteers to sort and pack tonnes of donations waiting to be taken to Poland. To find out more about volunteering, visit Polonia dla Ukrainy’s Facebook page here.

And while Park Vets cannot accept any further donations, they have set up a JustGiving page for Ukraine’s shelter animals through the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).  Donate to the IFAW here. ​

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