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Ukraine war: How to help — from donating clothes to hosting refugees

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The Evening Standard has launched its appeal to help the thousands of people fleeing the fighting in Ukraine.

Your donations will go to charities there on the ground, supporting refugees at the border and providing humanitarian aid for those sheltering in cities like Kyiv.

Every donation will make a difference, and this is just one of the ways those of us here in London can lend a hand in helping the people of Ukraine as they flee the war in their beloved home country.

Across the capital, charities and organisations are rallying to bring vital funds, supplies and shelter to those in need as quickly as possible – and they’re appealing for donations.

From charity raves set up in the wake of the crisis to pubs, clubs and event spaces taking clothes donations, here are some of the most meaningful ways you can help.

Charities helping Ukrainian refugees need money, fast. If you can afford it, the British Red Cross, Choose Love, Project Hope, Mercy Corps, Unicef, APKMUK, Humanity and Inclusion, and the International Rescue Committee are among the NGOs taking donations for their emergency crisis appeals.

Donate here: Please give what you can to the Evening Standard Ukraine appeal

/ ES

Here in London, the UK’s Ukrainian Embassy has set up its own donation service, With Ukraine, meanwhile Polish Humanitarian Action is supplying hygiene products, food and blankets to those in need on the Ukrainian/Polish border.

On the ground in Kyiv, Ukrainian NGO Come Back Alive is urging people to donate to help support democracy in their country, while non-profit Nova Ukraine is helping to provide humanitarian aide. Natasha Zinko, an ambassador of the Red Cross Ukraine Odessa, has this GoFundMe page raising money specifically for antibiotics and other prescribed medications for people in Ukraine.

Journalist Chris York, a former HuffPost editor, is currently in Warsaw collecting as many phone power banks and gas heaters as he can. “Hi guys. Yarina and I just made it across the border from Ukraine into Poland,” he wrote on his GoFundMe page, which is taking donations to support Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland.

“It was a really tough two days but there are now even more people waiting to cross and the conditions are only getting worse. There are currently queues of mostly women, children and elderly that stretch 40km. Temperatures are around -5C at night, there are no toilets and there isn’t enough food or water for everyone. Those who make it through are being driven all around Poland so we’ve set this page up to help those who end up near Warsaw where we are now. They’re arriving only with what they can carry so need a lot of help.

“We’re also looking into other ways we can help so will update this page over the next few days.” You can donate to his fundraiser here.

London’s Ukrainian Institute has a round-up of support methods here and quip.com has a brilliant list of verified fundraisers here.

There’s also this new English-language platform Help Ukraine Online, set up by Ukrainian woman Inna Nelson, who lives in Australia, with the help of Ukrainian digital agency 42FM. Check out the site for lists of foundations for financial assistance, global petitions and instructions for participating in the information war.

Attend a fundraising event

R3 SoundSystem

Tonight at 7.30pm, Melody Whisky Bar in Hammersmith is hosting a whisky-themed fundraising event with an auction, raffle and plenty of drams – tickets cost a minimum of £20 if you’re attending on Zoom and £65 if you’re attending in person. Every penny raised will go straight to Marcin Schilling, a Londoner living in Poland who is providing Ukrainian refugees with food, clothes and other much-needed items.

Meanwhile spin studio Psycle is hosting 45-minute ‘Ride for Ukraine’ charity classes at 7.30pm across all of its London outposts tomorrow and in a couple of weeks, some of London’s biggest names will be DJing this fundraising rave for Ukraine at Venue MOT in Peckham on March 11.

There’ll be nine hours of back-to-back music across two rooms and Resident Advisor will be donating 100% of booking fees to the Ukraine emergency.

Write to your MP

The Prime Minister has now relaxed visa requirements to allow immediate family members to join Ukrainians settled in the UK, but there’s still more that can be done.

Campaign groups are encouraging UK citizens to send an email to their MP, urging them to support Ukraine and push for more sanctions. You can find your MPs contact details here.

It takes less than ten minutes.

Protest for peace

London Euromaidan

Follow the Ukrainian Solidarity Campaign and Euromaidan London on Facebook for details of upcoming protests to do with Ukraine. The Stand With Ukraine demonstration takes place in Trafalgar Square at 6pm this evening.

London’s Ukrainian Institute has ready-made posters and leaflets you can print here.

Town halls, pubs and countless organisations across London are collecting donations to support the people stuck in or fleeing Ukraine. The White Eagle Club on Balham High Road is one of those taking donations of clothes, bedding, sleeping bags, sanitary items and clean new shoes for refugees arriving in Poland. Volunteers say they’ve been thrilled with the response, with lorry-loads of donations being handed over already since the appeal went out on Sunday.

In east London, Lewisham Polish Centre is appealing for items including soups in cups, cardboard children’s juice, disposable tablewear, cutlery, nappies, wet wipes, paper towels and toilet paper.

Organisers are currently asking people to hold onto their donations for now as the centre is full, but they hope to resume shortly – in the meantime, please donate money if you can to help with transport.

Lewisham Polish Centre

Meanwhile Glow Bar on Soho’s Mortimer Street is collecting items for pregnant women in Ukraine: think nappies, formula, new breast pumps, baby clothes, baby bottles, sterilisers and baby painkillers like Calpol. A van will be leaving with all items this weekend, so pop in between 9am and 5pm today or tomorrow to drop them off.

Natural period care brand Freda is allowing customers to buy and donate period pads at cost price to displaced Ukrainian women. You can do so here.

Offer to host refugees

Airbnb has pledged to offer free housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees (more than 500,000 have already fled the country since the invasion started).

Many more will need housing. The government has just launched its new Homes For Refugees scheme, with an amazing 88,000 people signing up within the first 24 hours. Anyone with a spare home or room available can offer it to a Ukrainian national or family – you can register your interest online.

Shelter4ua.com is taking sign-ups from people around the world who have a spare room to host refugees – just click ‘I can help’ on their website and fill in the form.

Meanwhile, many people on the ground have been setting up their own grassroots matching sites. Nigel Collier and David Logan, founders of British digital innovation company Secret HQ, were concerned about Ukrainians advertising themselves on social media and potentially making themselves vulnerable to trafficking or abuse, so they’ve set up a site called UK Sponsors which does this more formally, with safety features in place to protect users. It took them just three days to build and they’re now working around the clock from their homes in Manchester and Yorkshire to match Ukrainian refugees with UK hosts – more than 1,000 people have signed up so far.

Collier and Logan have currently put their usual business on hold for 10 days to help out, but they’re only a two-man band and can’t afford to keep the site going and growing without financial support. “Ideally we would like to partner with national and local government, government partners and any large charities, NGOs and organisations involved in the Homes For Ukraine process,” Collier explains. Please email him at [email protected] if you are a potential donor or able to help.

Other sites matching refugees and hosts include oiko, designed by a young Russian and a young Ukrainian to connect Ukrainian refugees with UK hosts – they’re urging Brits to offer shelter and share the link with friends and family here.

Other hosting charities are expected to appeal for volunteers as the crisis unfolds.

Eat out to help out

Eat out to help out, this time in support of Ukraine. Thanks to a new #CookForUkraine campaign run by food-fluencer royalty Clerkenwell Boy, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels to add voluntary donations of £1, £2 or £5 to the bill throughout March – Casa Do Frango, Kricket, Wild by Tart, Petersham Nurseries, Manteca, La Rampa, Homeslice and Fallow have already signed up.

Other restaurants are helping with special dishes. The Big Mamma Group, which runs Italians including Ave Mario, is serving up a Ukrainian salo served with a shot of vodka and Club Mexicana has a dish too.

Elsewhere, Dark Arts Coffee certainly isn’t playing it cool with their feelings: its newly launched, subtly-named ‘RUSSIAN WARSHIP GO F*CK YOURSELF’ coffee — yes, the capital letters are part of it — is priced at £10, £20, £50 or £100 a box (the choice is the buyer’s), with 100 per cent of every sale aiding those fleeing Ukraine.

For the first time in four decades, Kensington’s beloved Il Portico is putting Chicken Kiev on the menu (it’s being called Chicken Kyiv), with £5 of the £15 price going Ukraine’s way, while Rebecca Mascarenhas and two-star chef Phil Howard are hosting dinners on March 14 at Elystan Street, Church Road, Kitchen W8, Home SW15 and Flour + Water as a way of fundraising, with more details confirmed shortly.

Follow those in the know

Reporter Tom Mutch (left) and his crew the day before war started in Ukraine

/ Tom Mutch

Many of the British and Ukrainian correspondents out in Kyiv have been sharing useful ‘how to support’ updates on Twitter. Here’s a list of some of the most reliable sources to follow, from the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford to freelance conflict reporter Tom Mutch, who has written this report in today’s Evening Standard on what it’s like in Kyiv on the ground.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian chef and organiser of #CookForUkraine Olia Hercules is sharing practical information and donation links on her Twitter account, and The Kyiv Independent is one of the most trusted English-language news outlets out there on the ground. It describes itself as the “true, independent voice of Ukraine”.

Sign a petition

There is a lot happening at a grassroots level but lending a hand can also include putting pressure on leaders to make a change. Petitions supporting Ukraine include this parliamentary one on pledging any necessary military support to defend Ukraine, The Independent’s petition called Refugees Welcome, and another challenging the UK government to help Ukrainian refugees.

Meanwhile more than 150,000 people have signed a petition by Freedom from Torture for the UK government to remove clause 11 of the Nationality & Borders bill, which will severely punish Ukrainian refugees. On Monday, peers in the House of Lords voted to remove clause 11, and the bill will now return to the House of Commons.

Among Change.org’s other top trending petitions in the UK are this one petitioning the government to expand its emergency visa scheme, and this one to ensure that safe passage for Ukrainian refugees really does include everyone, after reports that people of colour have been discriminated against at the borders.

On a world stage, this open petition asks NATO to close the airspace over Ukraine, and there’s another open letter here from AVAAZ called Stop This War.

Stopputin.net also includes contacts and sample letters for more than 30 countries.

Quip.com has a useful list of worldwide petitions here.

For further suggestions of how Londoners can help the people of Ukraine, please email [email protected]


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