From Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service donating essential firefighting equipment and local hauliers transporting goods directly to the Ukrainian border, to individuals donating their time, money and items to help support refugees, Gloucestershire is proud to #StandWithUkraine.
If you’re looking for a way to contribute, SoGlos rounds up 12 ways Gloucestershire residents can show their support…
1. Go to the Everyman Theatre’s Stand Up For Ukraine show
Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre and Cirencester’s Barn Theatre have teamed up to put on a variety show to raise money for victims of the war in Ukraine. Stand Up For Ukraine takes place on Saturday 2 April 2022 at the Everyman Theatre with a star-studded line-up including Tweedy the Clown, Dom Joly, Ben Miller and Sir Michael Morpurgo.
Tickets cost from £15 to £100 and all proceeds are being donated to the DEC Ukraine appeal, Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers and Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees, with the theatres aiming to raise £50,000 in total. Staff are donating their time on the night, while local businesses BPE Solicitors and Crowe are sponsoring the event. There will also be a live-stream for anyone who can’t attend in-person with a link to make a donation online.
For more information, including how to buy tickets, see Stand Up For Ukraine at Everyman Theatre.
2. Donate to a Crowdfunder helping refugees get to safety
There are some incredible individuals in Gloucestershire doing their part to help Ukrainian refugees get to safety. Former University of Gloucestershire student Tim Flint and his friend Henry Irvine travelled to Ukraine on Friday 11 March 2022 to spend a week transporting refugees from Dorohusk to Poland, as well as providing them with essential supplies for the journey. The pair aren’t affiliated with any charities, they are taking unpaid leave from their jobs to help – and you can support them by donating to their mission via crowdfunder.co.uk.
The University of Gloucestershire’s deputy vice-chancellor, Richard O’Doherty, was touring Europe in his campervan when the invasion of Ukraine began and has since been driving 200 miles from Budapest to Zahony and back every day to ferry refugees and their pets to safety, too.
3. Donate items to a Gloucestershire business supporting Ukraine
Lots of local businesses in the county are collecting items to send to Ukraine to help with humanitarian efforts.
Bredon School in Tewkesbury launched an appeal on Monday 7 March 2022, collecting a list of approved items including first aid supplies, water purifying tablets, torches, power packs and charging cables. Staff, pupils and the local community can drop items at its donation station in Pull Court for the remainder of the current school term, before the school finances transport to take donations to the Polish border with Ukraine.
Cheltenham-based Clarkson Evans is collecting women’s and children’s clothing; baby products; sanitary products; first aid products such as plasters and bandages; candles and torches; pillows and duvets; and long-life food items such as pasta and rice, which can be donated at reception.
Omega Resource Group in Stonehouse is also accepting donations including clothes and shoes; torches and candles; baby products; toiletries; dried foods; and first aid supplies. While travel company Just Go Holidays in Cheltenham is also encouraging its staff to donate goods to its Ukraine appeal.
4. Buy Gloucestershire-made artwork supporting Ukraine
Local artists and crafters in Gloucestershire are showing their support by creating and selling artwork, with money being donated to charities supporting Ukraine. The Personalised Studio is selling a range of Ukraine-themed products, from mugs and t shirts to car air fresheners via its Facebook page.
Cheltenham-based artist, Sarah Goddard, is selling limited edition linocut prints of sunflowers in the colours of the Ukrainian flag on etsy.com, with £10 of each sale being donated to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal – as well as selling various other artworks and donating 50 per cent of the sale price to the DEC Ukraine Crisis Appeal.
5. Help refugees arriving in Cheltenham
Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees is a charity that works hard to raise awareness of the refugee crisis and ensure refugee families living in Cheltenham receive the support they need. While it can’t accept donations of goods, those wishing to make a financial donation to go towards buying store vouchers and essentials can do so at cheltenhamwelcomesrefugees.org.uk.
MP for Cheltenham, Alex Chalk, has offered his assistance to any Cheltenham-based Ukrainians seeking to get their family members to safety in the UK, too – asking people in need of help to contact his office directly.
6. Support independent journalism in Ukraine
SoGlos is proud to be Gloucestershire’s leading independent media company, so supporting independent journalism is a cause that’s close to our hearts. With misinformation rife online, independent journalism in Ukraine helps the rest of the world find out what’s really happening in the country from people who are there.
English-speaking media outlet the Kyiv Independent aims to bring credible news from Ukraine to the rest of the world and has a fundraising appeal on gofundme.com, while a wider appeal to save Ukraine’s media, including Ukrainska Pravda, Zaborona and Detector Media is also accepting donations via gofundme.com.
7. Help asylum seekers find temporary accommodation through Gloucestershire Nightstop
Gloucestershire Nightstop is helping refugees whose asylum claims have been granted find temporary housing while they wait to be transferred to state support. Anyone wanting to help can make a financial donation via gloucestershirenightstop.org.uk – and those with a spare bedroom can apply to be a host.
8. Raise a toast to Ukraine at Butlers Bar in Gloucester
Butlers Bar in Gloucester has added the cheekily-named ‘#FcukyouPutin’ shot to its menu. The layered shot, which resembles the Ukraine flag, is made with banana Bols, Baileys and blue curacao, with the bar offering three for £5 and using 25 per cent of the sale price to buy dried food, baby milk and medicine to send to Ukraine.
9. Donate to Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS) is asking for financial donations to assist its vital work helping refugees in Gloucestershire. Financial contributions help GARAS provide a drop-in centre, offering information and advice directly to refugees and asylum seekers, as well as working with local agencies to help refugees get access to the services they need in the county. You can donate at garas.org.uk.
10. Watch a special screening at Sherborne Cinema in Gloucester
Gloucester’s Sherborne Cinema is hosting a special screening of Olga on Sunday 20 March 2022. The film tells the story of a Ukrainian gymnast exiled in Switzerland as a revolt breaks out in her homeland, where her mother – who is a journalist – faces intimidation from the pro-Russian regime. Tickets cost £7 and Sherborne Cinema is donating box office takings from the screening to the DEC Ukraine appeal. To book a seat, call (01452) 520560.
11. Donate to a Ukraine charity appeal
There are also a number of national and international charity appeals that you can donate to, supporting refugees fleeing Ukraine and people remaining in the country. The British Red Cross is taking donations for its Ukraine Crisis Appeal at donate.redcross.org.uk, the Disasters Emergency Committee has a Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal at dec.org.uk, the UN Refugee Agency is taking donations at donate.unrefugees.org.uk while you can also donate to Medicins Sans Frontiers, Save The Children and Unicef.
The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain is running a fundraising appeal to provide medicine, food and services to the most vulnerable people via gofundme.com. British Ukrainian Aid is helping injured, wounded and displaced Ukrainian people with its appeal at british-ukrainianaid.org. Sunflower of Peace is helping Ukrainians affected by the war with an appeal at sunflowerofpeace.com. Voices of Children helps child victims of war in Ukraine and is accepting donations at voices.org.ua. While Forbidden Colours is helping LGBTQIA+ people escape from Ukraine and find safe places where they will be welcome at forbidden-colours.com.
12. Write to your local MP
While individuals and businesses can make an incredible impact, in order to make significant changes to the way refugees are treated in the UK, writing to the government helps to put pressure on them to change policies.
Constituents can write to their local MP to ask the government to match the commitments made to refugees by their EU counterparts, such as allowing entry without visa requirements and costs and allowing Ukrainians to bring their pets into the UK without the four-month quarantine requirement; as well as asking them to oppose the Nationality and Borders bill, which aims to criminalise asylum seekers arriving in the UK.