Ukranian refugees plea from Harrogate's Whitney to businesses as she plans her next mercy mission

Harrogate businesswoman Whitney Vauvelle's incredible effort for Ukranian refugees has run into an obstacle - and she urgently needs the help of local businesses.

By Graham Chalmers
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 5:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 5:12 pm
Harrogate pilates instructor Whitney Vauvelle's incredible effort for Ukranian refugees needs urgent help.

After successfully sending off her first 45-foot truck full of donations of bottled water, medical supplies, nappies, cleansing wipes, warm clothes, suitcases to Poland from Harrogate this week, Whitney, who is normally a specialist pilates instructor with her own boutique, says she was determined to do more to help but her previous collection point, White Horse Machinery at Hornbeam Park, was now too busy to get involved.

Whitney said: "I am desperately looking for a new warehouse unit where we can collect and package future items for export.

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"It also needs to have pallet, forklift and lorry access."

An American woman married to a Harrogate native, Whitney not only has has family ties to Kyiv but has close contacts in Poland with not-for-profit international relief organisation Global Empowerment Mission (GEM), which has been in Poland since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and quickly set up two humanitarian warehouse distribution centres to help refugees from Ukraine.

She praised Harrogate-based White Horse Machinery, which with over 25 years of large printing equipment export capabilities, had been instrumental, she said, in pulling the UK’s first humanitarian aid mission from Harrogate together so quickly.

Whitney is now seeking additional Harrogate or Leeds businesses with logistics and export capability to get involved with GEM’s mission.

Having received fantastic support from Harrogate people, businesses and schools - including from Harrogate Spring Water and Yorkshire Tea whose donations products are now on route to Global Empowerment Mission’s HQ in Rzeszow, Poland to help Ukraine refugees - Whitney is also seeking donations of supplies to take on the next journey such as cell phone power banks, sleeping bags, medical items and suitcases.

Whitney has also sent a message out to her parents WhatsApp group offering to collect donations from Highfield Prep School at Harrogate Ladies College.

She said: "What started out as an idea “to do something” and gather humanitarian relief supplies from school mums, teachers and bake sales has mushroomed into opportunity for Yorkshire companies to make a difference on a much larger scale."

And she has set up a Justgiving page to fundraise for the costs of her humanitarian missions to help refugees from Ukraine.

Corporate donor or other enquires, should contact Whitney Vauvelle 07860922600 or email [email protected]