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What we do - Help Ukraine Group Support

Shortly after Ukraine was invaded, a meeting was held in Hungerford to see how we could help newly arrived Ukrainians.

 

Two groups were formed, one to offer more formal English teaching and one to offer an informal English conversation class.

 

Over the months the groups were able to help our Ukrainian guests in many ways in addition to help with the language. For example, GP appointments, schooling issues, job applications, housing etc. And, with one family via a local MP, support for a visa application for a family member.

 

As people settled or moved on, the need for our help through the meetings diminished. It was decided, after an introduction to the Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership (SHAP), to organise, around the West Berkshire and Wiltshire areas, donation days, collecting humanitarian and medical aid. In order to do this Help Ukraine Group Support (HUGS) was formed with others who had been involved with obtaining aid for Ukraine.

 

To date, eight donation days have been held.

 

On these days a long wheel base VW Crafter, which takes a load up to one and a half tonnes, is used to transport most of the humanitarian aid donated, from that day's venue, to SHAP's warehouse in Swindon.

 

On each donation day, the loaded van makes on average four journeys to and from the venue to Swindon. That is thirty-two journeys so far, equalling approximately forty-eight tonnes. We estimate also that journeys made to collect aid from our two lock up garages, by the same van, amounts to another twenty tonnes. The combined figure, some sixty-eight tonnes.

 

This aid has been transported to Ukraine through SHAP using forty-foot long lorries. Our volunteers have been able to help load these lorries in Swindon.

 

The number of sorted boxes packed on each donation day averages 500. In addition numerous amounts of mobility aids,eg. walking frames, crutches, wheelchairs, zimmer  frames, walking sticks and various gym equipment. All of these items aid mobility and rehabilitation after injuries etc.

 

A good number of boxes, which contain medical and practical aid, are transported to Ukraine through our partner Stanislav, himself a Ukrainian, who is in contact with all the emergency services striving to protect communities in the hardest hit regions. In addition, fortnightly journeys are made with full carloads to supply Stanislav.

 

His first hand, regular contact with those most in need, has meant we have been able to respond to urgently required aid.

 

We also transport on a regular basis, carloads of medical aid to a group in Oxford who also get aid to hospitals, medics and an orphanage near to the front lines.

 

To summarise well over 4,000 boxes of aid, totalling over sixty-eight tonnes, has been sorted and packed and transported to Ukraine.

 

In addition to the above we get offered large quantities of foodstuffs and pet food. This goes to SHAP and Stanislav for distribution. 

 

It is obvious that these donation days and our continued collecting of essential aid for Ukraine is successful. Photographs on this site show the extent and range of donations brought to us and the operation in sorting, packing and labelling the boxes. Additionally, you’ll find images and videos of the aid arriving and being used in Ukraine.

  

The donation days are organised by the HUGS Committee of six members, but more importantly supported in all our activities by our volunteers who now number over forty.

 

It is worth noting that to date we have well over 500 donors on our database who we keep informed of specific requests and donation days. If you are not already on our database please contact us with your name, email address and mobile number. We will be pleased to include you.

 

You will see listed on this website the range of the aid required. We are proud to say that virtually everything on this list has at some stage been given, or, by financial donation purchased and sent to Ukraine.

 

Our close links with SHAP are invaluable to the operation, in getting the bulk of donations to Swindon on the day and then, most importantly, transporting the aid to Ukraine.

 

In addition to the donation days, we are regularly contacted with offers of aid, by those who have seen our widely publicised flyers, Facebook, website and word of mouth. This inevitably means collecting from around the area, or receiving deliveries at our homes or lock up garage space in Ramsbury.

 

We are not a charity, we are however, as our website states, an active group of volunteers working with other like-minded people to provide much needed aid for Ukraine.

 

It does cost money to organise and operate a donation day, but also to be able to purchase much needed equipment and other essentials when requests are made.

 

So in addition to help us with the requested aid, monetary donations will help us respond to those specific requests, in particular to the hardest hit areas.

 

This can be done by Just Giving or if you prefer, we can give you our bank account details to send direct.

 

Thank you,

 

Help Ukraine Group Support (HUGS) Committee:  Mandy, Kate, Steve, Steff. Tamasine and Tony    

Image by Mathurin NAPOLY _ matnapo.webp
Our Mission

Providing continuous aid and support to Ukraine - we strongly believe that small actions can make a big difference


Location

We are based in Berkshire, UK, with activities extending across the West Berkshire, and East Wiltshire

 

Our Team and Efforts

Our committee is composed of five individuals with diverse skills, all committed to showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Together with around twenty volunteers, we organize regular Donation Days and coordinate efforts to collect and distribute aid.

Team Composition

Five dedicated committee members plus twenty active volunteers - do get in touch if you'd like to help us! 

 

Activities

Regular Donation Days, aid sorting, packing, and shipping

Expanding Our Reach

In autumn 2023, we expanded our volunteer network to include support from areas south and east of Newbury, including the energetic BUGS (Burghclere Ukraine Group Support). We now cover additional areas such as Wantage/Faringdon and Cold Ash.

Our Impact and Partnerships

So far we HUGS held seven successful aid collections in various locations, including schools and community halls. We work closely with organizations like SHAP (The Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership)  and other charitable organizations for aid shipment to ensure aid is shipped directly to those in need in Ukraine.

 
Aid Collections:

We have so far run eight successful aid collection days across Hungerford, Bedwyn, Marlborough, Chieveley, and Wash Common as well as any individual collections from GPs, Vets, and businesses and care homes and nurseries across the region 

Our aid  deliveries focuses on medical supplies and essentials, dictated by frontline as well as those items requested but those most affected by the war . this ensures we are only sending aid that is required and makes sure it is genuinely useful. 

 

We also contribute to special projects, such as converting a bus into a mobile medical unit, driven across Europe to the front-line.

 
Community Engagement

Thanks to individual donors and groups from care homes, GP surgeries, and businesses, HUGS has built a supportive community. Our efforts are facilitated by our website and social media platforms, where we share updates and needs.

 

We're committed to providing effective support for as long as needed, believing in the power of small actions to make a big difference. Join us in our mission to support Ukraine.

Slava Ukraini
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The areas where we collect aid

We cover much of Berkshire and North/East Wiltshire and can arrange collections in other areas - just get in touch and let us know what you'd like to donate, and we will see if we can help. 

If we are not able to, we have connections with other aid groups around the UK who we can put you in touch with. 

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