The Leeds Polish Catholic Centre housed a collection point for volunteers to drop off donations in support of Ukrainian refugees.
The Leeds Polish Centre in Chapel Allerton became the main hub of a huge collective effort between local communities as local volunteers dropped off donations for Ukrainian refugees in March. Several vans were loaded with donated clothes, bedding, and toiletries at the Polish centre for the thousands of women and children fleeing Ukraine as the Russian invasion escalated.
Up to 20 volunteers also joined farm owners in Barwick In Elmet to sort excess donations, using barns for storage, after the Polish Centre quickly filled up over just one day.
The collection point was organised following a Yorkshire-wide appeal made by Bradford-based Magdalena Timmins. Volunteers delivered the donated goods to her birthplace city of Przemysl, which sits on the Polish border of Ukraine where growing numbers of Ukrainians have fled.
Leeds community group Cara helped spread the word through social media during the appeal and have since donated 100% of its own membership fees to support the transportation of donated items to the Polish-Ukrainian border, while also donating funds to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.
“It was truly humbling and heart-warming for the Cara team to help the efforts at the Polish Community Centre collecting for families in Ukraine,” stated Cara. “The huge volume of donations was overwhelming, and the community spirit of everyone working together for hours on end, packing boxes, bags, and loading vans, was amazing.”
Further collection points have been planned as the Ukraine crisis goes on, with donations focusing on first-aid kits, fold out beds, and other camping equipment. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that up to one million refugees had fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries in the first week of the conflict, with figures continuing to rise.