Ukraine appeal - Banbury pulls together with Polish community to collect items to help desperate Ukrainian refugees arriving in their country

Banbury area residents have responded enthusiastically to an appeal for items to help thousands of desperate Ukrainian refugees fleeing conflict in their country.

By Roseanne Edwards
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 9:21 am
Shocked and traumatised Ukrainian families are living in tent villages along their country's borders. Picture by Getty
Shocked and traumatised Ukrainian families are living in tent villages along their country's borders. Picture by Getty

The Polish community living in town has set up a collection for food, bedding and other necessary items for the Ukrainians who are being put up in tent villages being erected on the Polish border.

Magdalena Kwiecińska began the collection last week after forming a group called Banbury z pomocą Ukrainie on Facebook and today it has over 900 members. A group of up to 30 people will be managing the collections and will be helped by the Longford Park Brownies.

She said: "We started this up collecting things in our private houses but now everyone wants to help.

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Ukrainians fleeing the conflict are in desperate need of items to help them as they set up temporary homes in tent villages. Picture by Getty

"We are now under the auspices of the Polish Assocation in Banbury as a registered charity in order to make border crossings possible for our transport. Companies in Banbury are trying to offer help and we are able to give them this charity number to establish our credentials."

Any businesses wanting to help should contact Magdalena at [email protected] Mrs Kwiecińska said from today (Monday) donors may drop off supplies at the Longford Park Community Centre, where a team of volunteers will be sorting and packing items to be taken to storage donated free by Magenta. A full list of drop-off points is at the bottom of this story.

"We have been promised free transport by the Oxford company called Vans for Bands with drivers and our volunteers will be drivers if needed. Diesel for the first trip will be paid for by the company and after that we will be looking for donations," said Mrs Kwiecińska.

"We will hand over the donations to the Army and the firefighters at the collection points at Budziszow near the border, where the refugees are waiting to be taken forward to Poland."

Paula Pasnik, a Polish resident of Banbury, who is jointly coordinating the collection of items for Ukrainian refugees

Another campaigner Paula Layla Pasnik put out an appeal on the Banbury Info social media site, receiving enthusiastic support from the Banbury public.

Mrs Pasnik, who has lived in Banbury since 2009, said: "Magda had already started taking donations and has organised transport to the Polish/Ukrainian border - it is the only place it is safe for the Ukrainians who are trying to escape the conflict. There are a lot of Army on the borders who will distribute the items.

"There is a town there with about 500 tents with individuals and families with children, some with their pets. Every town in Poland is trying to get supplies together for them and it's still very cold there. Already 200,000 have arrived in Poland and more are arriving every day.

"Their needs are very urgent. We have started the collection and we'd like people to being their donations by Friday so we can sort them and get them on their way to Poland."

Magdalena Kwiecińska who is spearheading the Polish community effort in Banbury to take relief aid to the Ukrainian refugees

Mrs Pasnik said: "It would be easier to pack and stack if items can be put in boxes. But if that's not possible, in bags. We'd be grateful if a list of contents, and the number of items, could be stuck on the outside and that food and non-food items could be kept separate so we don't have to spend a lot of time separating things."

Suggestions for items urgently needed for the refugees include:

Household cleaning products including laundry detergent and washing up liquid.

Personal hygiene products such as soap, shower gel, shampoo, toilet rolls, sanitary pads and tampons along with toothpaste and tooth brushes; combs and hair brushes, deodorants.

Towels, duvets and covers, blankets, pillows and linen.

Clothes, underwear, coats, jackets, shoes and boots for adults and children in different sizes and age groups.

Baby items - Sudocream, Bepanthen, dried baby milk and formula (long date stamp), bottles, teats, baby wipes, dummies and nappies of all sizes.

Food - cans, packets, jars/packs of infant food, boxed juices, pasta, rice - long date stamps are essential.

Sweets, toys, crayons, paper, pens, writing paper, pencils, skipping ropes, balls, items useful for impromptu education and to keep children occupied.

First aid supplies/kits, painkillers for adults and children.

Thermos flasks, batteries, torches, wind-up lamps.

Child/baby car seats are badly needed for transport being arranged from the border into Poland, plus pushchairs/buggies.

Cages for dogs/cats; dry pet food/cans, pet bedding, collars, leads, harnesses, feed bowls.

A full list of drop-off points is Longford Park Community Centre, Hobby Rd OX15 4G; Mon 4.30pm-8pm, Tues 12pm - 8pm, Wednesday 4:30pm-8pm.

Kids Salon and Spa, 3a Parsons Street, Ox16 5LW from 9am - 5pm without prior appointment and from 5pm - 9pm by arrangement with 07565 876295.

Smakołyk (Polish supermarket), West Bar, Banbury, OX16 9SA from Monday - Friday, 9am - 8pm, Saturday, 9am - 7pm and Sunday 10am - 5pm.

Magenta Self Storage, 2 Brookhill Way, Banbury OX16 3ED from Monday - Saturday 9am - 5pm and Sunday 10am - 2pm.