16:00 16 April 2022
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February there have been many appeals in Ipswich for help and funds to support the refugees. Much of that help has now arrived in the places that need it most.
Magdalena Chambers, one of the directors of the city‘s Polish community hub, visited her hometown of Ostróda this month.
She organized collections with Castle Hill Community Center Trust for a Christian camp that opened its doors to refugees.
So far three lorries full of aid from Ipswich have traveled to the camp and £8,500 has been collected.
Speaking to Magdalena, Bartech, one of the organisers, said the money Ipswich has raised will help refugees get through the winter.
“I want to say a big thank you to all of you from Ipswich. I’m impressed,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest collections we’ve had from anywhere in Europe .”
Seeing her hometown full of refugees was, according to Magdalena, “very moving”.
“There are around 150 refugees there now, including 100 children,” she said. “I’m also worried about my own family, because we don’t know how long this war will last.
“It is important that we continue to raise funds. Poles are generous and they are good at providing physical help, but they don’t necessarily have the funds to provide financial support.
Meanwhile, Edd Cottee and Dave Cole left Ipswich in a van donated by John Grose on April 8.
They arrived in Lithuania two days later, bringing aid to Edd’s friend, Andy Davies, in the village of Alksniupiai.
They continued south to a refugee camp in Lublin, Poland, a town not far from the Ukrainian border.
“We had around £1,200 left in the JustGiving fund, so we went to the local supermarket. We ended up filling six carts,” Edd said.
“It was an extremely eye-opening experience. There was a time when we were driving to the border, and there were buses coming out of Ukraine to Poland, full of women and children.
“There were children looking out the window. Seeing him on the news is one thing, but seeing him in real life chilled me.
The next Polish Community Hub collection will take place on Sunday, April 24 at the Castle Hill Community Centre.
To donate, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/magdalena-chambers