Arundel for Ukraine develops in to "huge community effort"

Residents of Arundel have taken to their hearts a fundraising campaign to get instant help to refugees who have fled the Ukraine

Organised by a small group of local residents, within a day or so of it being set up, Arundel for Ukraine is developing into a huge community effort.

While organisations all over the UK are collecting donations of goods of all kinds, in many cases it takes a considerable length of time for them to reach those who have left their home with nothing.

As one of the organisers of Arundel for Ukraine, Krisztina Hall explains, what is most needed at the moment is money so that established organisations on the frontline can respond quickly and buy items to provide instant assistance to the thousands of people who have crossed the borders into neighbouring East European countries.

“This is a crisis and while donations of goods are vitally needed, it can take weeks for them to arrive. The best way to help at the moment is by giving money to aid organisations on the ground, which have the infrastructure to react immediately to provide what is required and make sure the people who need it gets it straight away.

“My husband Will Hall and myself had already planned a holiday to visit my parents in Hungary and our initial thought was to drive to the border with a van packed with supplies. Then we realised that at this stage the priority is to get aid to where it is needed, without delay.”

It was only on Monday this week that the idea of Arundel for Ukraine was born, when Krisztina and Will heard so many townsfolk talking about how they wanted to help in some way but had no idea what they could do.

“Hungary and Poland are the main borders that refugees are crossing,” said Krisztina. “As a social worker I have lots of contacts in Hungary and I’ve been talking to some of them on the frontline and found out how vital it is for them to be able to respond immediately and provide vital assistance.

“That’s when we decided that raising money was the best way we could help and we’ve been amazed by the reaction of the Arundel community with so many people wanting to get involved. We have the whole town behind us, individuals and businesses, it’s brought everyone together.”

On Saturday, March 5, Arundel will be a sea of blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag. Events will be held all over town with music and entertainment, coffee mornings, raffles and a variety of other fundraising efforts.

“By the end of our first day, we had set up the Arundel for Ukraine page on Facebook which gives full details of our campaign and easy ways in which people can donate so that every penny goes direct to the relief effort.

“The empathy and compassion shown by the Arundel community has been amazing, with people pledging donations from £5 up to £100. Every donation can make a big and immediate difference.”

Word has spread quickly and everyone is getting on board. One helper went to a fabric shop in Worthing to buy materials in yellow and blue to make flags and when the owner heard what they were for, refused to take any payment for them.”

Another Arundel resident, Kiel Pointon, will be flying out to Hungary with Krisztina and Will. While there they will offer their help in any way required, whether at the border itself or buying and delivering urgent supplies there.

At present the organisers are focusing on the urgency of the current situation but they know that even when the conflict ends, it will take years to repair the damage caused so they are considering setting up a group to provide help in the future.

 

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