Town centre shop in Banbury is handed over to Banbury for Ukraine humanitarian aid programme to house vast numbers of donations from generous residents

The Banbury Polish effort to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine was boosted when a town centre shop was made available for storage and administration.
Magdalena Kwiecinska and Karolina Kowal of the Banbury Polish Association outside the shop made available to the Banbury for Ukraine relief aid appealMagdalena Kwiecinska and Karolina Kowal of the Banbury Polish Association outside the shop made available to the Banbury for Ukraine relief aid appeal
Magdalena Kwiecinska and Karolina Kowal of the Banbury Polish Association outside the shop made available to the Banbury for Ukraine relief aid appeal

Banbury for Ukraine - whose appeal for relief aid for the refugees flooding across the Ukrainian borders has made a huge impact - was given the keys to the Castle Quay premises yesterday (Friday). The unit fronts on to Banbury Market Place and was previously occupied by Martin and Co estate agents.

The donation of the shop has been made possible through a government-funded project, Makespace Oxford, which was set up transform up to 30 empty and underused buildings and repurpose them. The organisation's mission is to transform these unused shops and offices into affordable, community-driven workspaces for independent and community-driven organisations.

Local property expert Neil Wild of Wild Property Consultancy - one of the delivery partners for Meanwhile - was contacted on Wednesday and within 48 hours was able to hand over keys to the Banbury for Ukraine team.

Karolina Kowal, left, and Magdalena Kwiecinska at the handover of the keys to the Market Place/Castle Quay unitKarolina Kowal, left, and Magdalena Kwiecinska at the handover of the keys to the Market Place/Castle Quay unit
Karolina Kowal, left, and Magdalena Kwiecinska at the handover of the keys to the Market Place/Castle Quay unit

Alex Lui, Communities Delivery Manager for Make Space, was able to immediately organise the documents and allocate the property for the next six weeks specifically to assist in the Banbury for Ukraine project.

He said: "We are very happy to be able to support the Banbury Polish Association by providing them with temporary access to space in which they can organise and mobilise their support efforts. The Banbury Polish Association are doing incredibly important work supporting Ukrainian citizens affected by the current conflict and we can't think of a better way for this space to be used.

"Makespace Oxford stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and our thoughts are with everyone affected at this difficult time."

Running out of their original sorting centre at Longford Park Community Centre the Banbury Polish Association were delighted to accept the unit.

Founder of Banbury for Ukraine, Magdalena Kwiecinska, said “We are extremely grateful that Make Space Oxford is allowing us to use the unit on the Market Place for our humanitarian aid project Banbury for Ukraine.

"Without their help we would be stuck and unable to expand the collection and delivery service.”

The property forms part of the Castle Quay Shopping Centre and is owned by Cherwell District Council which has allocated a number of units to the Meanwhile in Oxfordshire Project.

Other organisations benefiting from the project include Oxfordshire Youth, Parents Talking Asperger’s, Visit Banbury and Orinoco the Oxfordshire Scrap Store.

Information about Meanwhile in Oxfordshire can be found here and here. The project is also supported by Oxfordshire County Council.