Ukraine support group thanks Portsmouth residents for 'incredible' generosity at fundraising dance event

A POPULAR food hall in Portsmouth has been turned into a dance hall to fundraise in support of those suffering in war-torn Ukraine.

Saturday, 30th April 2022, 4:35 pm

Dozens of people attended the event in the Outside-In Food Court in Middle Street, as dance instructors from across the city showed attendees how to salsa as part of a fundraising drive for the Hampshire Ukrainian Community support group.

Ukrainian sunflower seeds, as well as blue and yellow bracelets, were on sale at the ticketed event, raising hundreds of pounds for the community group, which has already sent tonnes of food and medical supplies following Russia’s bloody invasion in February.

Polish-national Karolina Graham, 34, said: ‘I think we were all devastated to hear what is going on in Ukraine, and I thought there must be a way to help.

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Karolina Graham and Maryna Kuzmenko said they were thrilled with the support for the dance event.

‘I thought, what can I do to bring a bit of fun, forget about what is going on, and make new friends, and we thought this was the best way.

‘You need to speak Ukrainian, you don’t need to speak English – you just dance.’

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Maryna Kuzmenko, a coordinator of the Hampshire Ukrainian Community, said Portsmouth residents continued to be ‘incredibly generous’ with their donations.

She said: ‘I am so happy to see this event. A huge thank you mist go to Karolina for her efforts to organise this. And I am grateful to the residents of Portsmouth for all their donations.’

The Hampshire Ukrainian Community has been organising a food-donation drive to support people in the war-torn Eastern European country, with a warehouse in Cosham storing food parcels ready for transportation.

Maryna called on residents to continue with their generosity, focusing on food donations.

Maryna said: ‘On April 8th we sent a 20 tonne lorry from Portsmouth to Kiev, full of supplies – food, medical supplies, food for children.

‘People in Portsmouth have been so supportive - we have had so many donations.

‘We are asking if you can do this, please bring food or medicine to Gunwharf Quays or the Thatched House (pub) in Eastney.’

The News has published a list of venues across the city that are accepting donations to support the Ukrainian cause.

Karolina said there is already discussions around another dance event to raise further funds.

She said: ‘All of the dancers said they would like to take part in Dance for Ukraine Two.’