How can I help Ukraine? People in Suffolk join forces to send supplies

As the Town Hall lights up in support of Ukraine, Ipswich residents want to do all they can to support Ukraine.

As the Town Hall lights up in support of Ukraine, Ipswich residents want to do all they can to support Ukraine. - Credit: Timothy Bradford / Danielle Booden / Patrycja Dziesinska

There may be more than 1,000 miles between Suffolk and Kyiv, but the people of Ukraine have been in our hearts and on our minds since Russia launched an attack on the country last Thursday. 

And now, some people in the county horrified by the events taking place have set about doing all they can to help.  

A spokesperson for Suffolk Refugee Support said: “We would encourage people to research what is most needed, and the organisations which are best placed to deliver that. This might be through non-governmental organisations on the ground and in neighbouring countries, or financial contributions.” 

One Ipswich resident determined to do what she can to help is Magdalena Chambers, who hails from Poland. 

Magdalena heard that in her hometown of Ostróda, a holiday camp had closed for business to start housing Ukrainian refugees. She set up a JustGiving page to raise funds, and has been overwhelmed by the response.  

“I couldn’t just watch what is happening without doing anything,” she explains. “Not being in my hometown, I can’t help physically, so I thought I would start a JustGiving page and support them financially. 

“The camp is able to take up to 180 people, and they already have 55, the majority children, which makes me even more upset – I'm a mum-of-two myself, and I just can't imagine being separated from my children.” 

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Magdalena has now almost reached her target of £5,000, and has set up a physical collection with her friend Malgorzata Santarek. They will be accepting donations this weekend at Castle Hill Community Centre. 

Others in Ipswich have rallied behind Ukraine as well. 

Rob Harden and Sharon Lockhart of Geek Retreat, in Upper Brook Street, have decided that this week, they will be waiving all fees from their regular events, and will instead be taking donations for Ukraine.  

For any ticketed events, all the proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross Appeal for Ukraine. 

“I think we’re all feeling a little helpless,” says Sharon. “We want to help, but we don’t know what to do, so we’re just doing what we can.” 

Magdalena Chambers, right, is doing all she can to support Ukraine with her friend, Malgorzata Santarek.

Magdalena Chambers, right, is doing all she can to support Ukraine with her friend, Malgorzata Santarek. - Credit: Patrycja Dziesinska

Rob Harden and Sharon Lockhart, joint owners of Geek Retreat, have decided to waive all fees for their events this week

Rob Harden and Sharon Lockhart, joint owners of Geek Retreat on Upper Brook Street in Ipswich, have decided to waive all fees for their events this week, to be donated to Ukraine. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Other businesses have pulled together to support Ukraine. 

Unit 17 nightclub in Cardinal Park will be opening its doors to receive clothing donations this week.  

Meanwhile, Alison Moffatt from Framlingham has been rousing her community, organising a collection to be sent to the Polish White Eagle Club in Balham this weekend, who will shortly be sending trucks to the Polish border.  

She has been helped by local businessman Sam Ransome, of Ransome Mobility Solutions.  

He said: “Alison has been amazing, and we have been overwhelmed by how many items have already been delivered."

Folk Cafe in Fornham St Martin is accepting Ukraine donations before 3.30pm on Thursday before arranging for them to be taken to those in need. In particular, items such as bandages, painkillers, antiseptics, sanitary products, baby food and children's clothing, are sought.

The British Red Cross is currently running an appeal. 

Paul Amadi, British Red Cross chief supporter officer, said: “The most useful thing people can do to support the Red Cross is donate money, which can be passed immediately to our colleagues working in the region to procure the things they need locally. 

“At the moment, however, we are not able to accept and transport goods, as this can slow down our response. 

"If anybody would like to organise their own fundraising event to support the Ukraine appeal, they can contact our community fundraising team on for support." 

Magdalena is determined to continue to support her Ukrainian neighbours as the war continues. 

She said: “Ukrainians are fighting for freedom. Not just for themselves, but for our freedom, too. 

“We need to join forces, British people, Polish people, everyone. It’s so beautiful to see everyone coming together, no matter what nationality you are.  

“That’s what I love about England, there are different cultures but in times of need, we all come together.”