Three lorries of goods heading to Ukraine after 'overwhelming' response

L-R: Malgorzata Santarek, Ruslan Postupalenko and Magdalena Chambers.

The Polish Community Hub CIC has rallied the community, and organised a collection point for donations which will now be driven to Ukraine. L-R: Malgorzata Santarek, Ruslan Postupalenko and Magdalena Chambers. - Credit: Mariusz Gebski

Lorries are currently making their way from Ipswich to Ukraine after the town pulled together to send donations to the war-torn country.

Magdalena Chambers and Malgorzata Santarek, joint directors of the Polish Community Hub CIC, set up a collection point at Castle Hill Community Centre in collaboration with building manager Garath Jones. They have been overwhelmed with the response.  

People arrived in their hundreds at the weekend with clothing, blankets, medicines and toiletries. 

“It was amazing,” said Magdalena. “We have managed to raise three lorries full of donations in two days. It was beautiful and emotional to see all the people from different backgrounds coming together.” 

Volunteers have been working tirelessly to gather donations for Ukraine.

Volunteers have been working tirelessly to gather donations for Ukraine. L-R: Irenka Santarek, Magdalena Chambers (organiser), Krzysztof Santarek, Malgorzata Santarek (organiser) and Tomasz Buczek. - Credit: Mariusz Gebski

Malgorzata (pictured) and Magdalena were overwhelmed by the community's response.

Malgorzata (pictured) and Magdalena were overwhelmed by the community's response. - Credit: Mariusz Gebski

The two friends created the hub to benefit Polish people living in Ipswich but were galvanised by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

“We want to show people that it’s important for us to support other communities too, not just our own,” Magdalena explains.  

Volunteers worked tirelessly last weekend as the community answered Magdalena and Malgorzata's plea for donations.

Volunteers worked tirelessly last weekend as the community answered Magdalena and Malgorzata's plea for donations. - Credit: Mariusz Gebski

Magdalena Chambers is determined to do all she can to support her Ukrainian neighbours.

Magdalena Chambers is determined to do all she can to support her Ukrainian neighbours. - Credit: Patrycja Dziesinska

The pair have joined forces with Ruslan Postupalenko, who has been organising for the donations to be driven directly to the Ukrainian border.  

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The community's response, he says, makes him “proud to be a British Ukrainian".

“I’ve not seen anything like this, ever,” he said. “Every single person is standing, volunteering for so many hours for a country that is 2,000 kilometres away. But everyone truly cares. I did not expect so much support to be there. 

“I knew haulage was going to be a problem, so I decided to take it on. I have trucks that I rent out, and my father has a haulage company.”

Ruslan’s father will be one of those actually driving the goods to a safe region of Ukraine.  

While Ruslan is pleased with the response to the invasion, this is a frightening time for anyone with friends and family in the region. 

“It really does hurt me to see some places in Ukraine, or even most places, have just been ruined,” Ruslan said.

“I know people living in cities that were evacuated, they’ve shown me pictures. There's not a single building left standing. 

“Ukraine is not only fighting for itself, but for the rest of Europe now. If Ukraine does not stop Putin and his aggression, then it’s going to carry on."