Viola Langley, co-founder of Portsmouth Helps Ukraine, says she has been blown away by the ‘amazing’ network of volunteers who have helped in their plight to get vital aid to Ukraine over the last month.
The group, which meets every Wednesday at their Cosham warehouse to sort and distribute donations from the community to Ukraine, has recently joined forces with Councillor Tony Denton and his wife Margaryta, from Langstone, Havant.
The couple have close ties with Ukraine as Margaryta is originally from Kaharlyk, a town in the Kyiv province of Ukraine, and has family and property in the country so were keen to find out what they could do to help since the start of the Russian invasion.
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Cllr Denton said: ‘Shortly after the war broke out and the humanitarian issues arose, we contacted the mayor to find out what they needed and pledged to deliver three tonnes per month.
‘The people of Langstone village saw our plight and decided to start their own collections and also the Warren Park Primary School, where I am a governor, all decided they wish to help and on that basis we were able to fill the van and take it with humanitarian aid.’
Cllr Denton and his wife have been able to deliver food, lady sanitary medicine, baby milk, nappies and more over the course of their trips to the country, even fitting their van with additional seating so that they may help a small number of refugees get from the border to larger and safer cities.
All donations collected from around seven local schools including Wimborne Primary School, Bramble Infant and Nursery School, Meon Junior School and more have been delivered straight to the mayors office in Kaharlyk, and distributed by Margaryta‘s brother to refugees.
‘We have managed to continue to deliver circa three tons every five weeks, with Margaryta and my daughter Katherine coming in the holidays to see for themselves and partially help with their rehabilitation – to understand that their home country has not gone.’