Home Somerset business All at the pump for Ukraine

All at the pump for Ukraine


‘YES, we care’ was the message that came out loud and clear from West Somerset this week for the beleaguered people of war-torn Ukraine.

Local communities in the district have mobilized to donate money and goods to be sent for humanitarian aid in this Eastern European country.

West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger led the campaign in support of Ukraine with the following message: “I applaud and continue to be amazed by the courage and fortitude of ordinary Ukrainian citizens .

“They are ready to fight for their families, their heritage and their land with the humblest weapons.

“They face overwhelming firepower but they still intend to resist.

“We must do everything we can to support them – and we will.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger said the Russian invasion of Ukraine had gone “beyond decency, let alone logic” and had caused appalling bloodshed with attacks on innocent people.

In Minehead, donations were piling up at a collection center in the old hospital in Blenheim Road, coordinated by councilors Toni Bloomfield and Emily Jones, and Mayor of Minehead Cllr Paul Bolton.

Cllr Bloomfield, who also works with Minehead Connect CIC, said: ‘The generosity of people in West Somerset has been absolutely amazing.

“All kinds of pieces were donated by people of all ages from Minehead, Watchet and beyond.

“I love how West Somerset comes together as a community and supports each other.”

Cllr Bloomfield said collections were taken to the room where the library was located and donations would then be taken to Taunton where there was a center that sent them to Ukraine.

The first van full of material was taken to Taunton on Wednesday March 9 and the appeal will continue for as long as necessary.

“Any help is appreciated,” said Cllr Bloomfield. “We are in desperate need of good sized sturdy cardboard boxes, please drop them off as soon as you can.”

Collection buckets were available for cash donations and Cllr Bloomfield said a raffle was being held for individuals and businesses to purchase tickets.

A carefully compiled list of items that Ukraine particularly needed fell into three categories: “medical”, “tactical/military” and “food”.

The list was available on the Minehead Connect CIC Facebook page and the Council’s website, but clothing, toys, bedding, towels, blankets and most food could only be accepted at this time if food could be eaten directly from its packaging.

A van was due to leave central Taunton today (Friday) to deliver the supplies to Ukrainian territories for defenders and Polish reception points for refugees.

The collection center of the old hospital is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the collection effort should contact Cllr Bloomfield on 07538 838307.

In Alcombe, Polish resident Gosia B. Zabicka has had a black box collection point outside her home all week, after earlier donations filled her garden’s summer house.

Gosia told the Free Press: “The response has been overwhelming and heartwarming with such incredible donations.

“I know it’s still a tragedy in Ukraine, but we feel a little better now that we’re doing something to help.

“We couldn’t do this without all the support from all the wonderful people here. It’s teamwork, everyone works together.

The Minehead community also showed their support with an impressive display of the yellow and blue Ukrainian national flag colors in store windows.

One trader said: ‘It wasn’t something organized between us as traders, but it shows that we all feel the same, that it’s important to show our solidarity and our huge, huge sympathy for the terrible fate of the Ukrainian people for what they are doing. through that horrible moment.

Packets of sunflower seeds, which is Ukraine’s national flower, were sold at a stand organized by Kate Kennedy at a street fair in Watchet on Sunday to raise money to help war refugees.

Packs of giant and dwarf sunflower seeds remain on sale in Watchet at the Bell Inn post office and pub and in Williton at Somerset Farmhouse butchers and delicatessens for £1 each.

Proceeds from the sunflower will go directly to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal Fund.

An appeal from Watchet mothers Jane Ellwood and Keiley MacDonald using the online platform JustGiving had raised over £700 on Wednesday, including a contribution from family farm shop Veggie Patch, which will go directly to the Cross Crisis Appeal. British Red in Ukraine.

A coffee morning held at Watchet Methodist Church on Sunday by minister Reverend Jane Sperring raised a further £180.

Craig and Karen Holmes, who run the Windmill Inn, West Quantoxhead, accept donated items daily from 8am to 8pm and have been amazed at ‘everyone for their kindness and generosity over the past few days’.

The couple said: “The donations received so far have exceeded all of our expectations and we are very happy to see the first collection going this week to support refugees from Ukraine.

“We are proud to be part of such a kind and generous community. Refugees are in our thoughts every day and we hope that we can collectively make a difference and support them as best we can.

In Wiveliscombe, a personal appeal for donations quickly turned into a village-wide effort that resulted in the community hall being filled with boxes of items.

It was a huge operation with volunteers collecting, sorting, packing and labeling the donations before they were transported by van to the central Compass Center collection point on the Belvedere Business Park in Taunton, from where a truck left for the Polish-Ukrainian border. .

Commercial support came from West Country Guns, Wivey Hardware and Open Door.

Items have also been collected from communities across the district under the ‘Exmoor Aid for Ukraine’ banner, coordinated by Tracey Morris, of Royal Oak Public House, Withypool, who can be contacted on 01643 831506.

These efforts were made when the first family of refugees from Ukraine arrived in Taunton this week, where a support group of volunteers began to help them settle into their allocated accommodation.

In Dulverton, a van and a Land Rover were filled with donated goods and £300 in cash was collected in a short period on Monday (March 7).

In Porlock, Jane Thorpe and Christine Morris spent this week trying to contact every household in the village individually to encourage donations to the cause, while Candy Bright promoted cash contributions directly to the British Red Cross.

The six Dunster Benefit churches jointly showed their support through collections at their services on Sunday March 6 and through other events.

The combined Withycombe and Rodhuish churches raised £205 between them.

In Carhampton, a Saturday coffee morning followed by a Sunday service collection raised £438.

Timberscombe Church contributed a total of £450 from a collection at the Sunday service as well as donations afterwards.

Dunster saw an initial church collection at the Sunday service of £56, after which the parish church council pledged to contribute another donation of several hundred pounds.

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