War in Ukraine: Ripon community comes together to help refugees

The community of Ripon have come together to provide a helping hand for Ukrainian refugees who are being forced to flee their country as Russia continues to invade.

By Lucy Chappell
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 11:25 am
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2022, 11:32 am

Amid the horrors of the war in Ukraine, the community of Ripon has come together to try and help the millions of people who are being to forced to flee their country.

These remain terrifying times for the people of Ukraine as Russian troops continue their march into the major cities, killing hundreds of civilians.

Morrisons, on Harrogate Road, has helped donate £250,000 towards Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal.

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Morrisons in Ripon has helped donate £250,000 towards Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal

Angela Stennett, Community Champion at Morrisons Ripon, said: “We have all been affected by the recent news from Ukraine and as a company we wanted to help and support the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who are fleeing their country.

“We wanted to play our part in providing support at a company level and locally to help these people and the funds will support those affected by providing food, water, shelter, healthcare, protection and trauma care.

“As a store we have also done a bucket collection at the tills and also customers can add £1 or more to their bill when shopping with us.

“We have raised £800 towards the appeal and this has been done nationwide and has raised a further £100,000.”

Former Ripon resident Lewis Edwards and his partner Tanya are currently working at a refugee camp in Slovakia

Former Ripon resident Lewis Edwards and his partner Tanya managed to flee from the capital city of Kyiv and cross the Slovakian border earlier this month and are now helping other refugees.

The group is made up of not only Ukrainians, but other nationals as well, all working together to support, assist, and relocate as many people as they can who are crossing the border looking for sanctuary.

They are now working alongside a second group located an hour away from Bratislava which is now full.

Speaking from Slovakia, Lewis said: “We want to do what we can to help, including providing essential services such as food, drink, clothing, sanitary products, nappies, sim cards - anything people may need.

"With your help we have transported 29 people into Bratislava and provide them with a warm meal twice a day, wifi, warm running water, a shared space to eat, chat and for kids to play and watch news and cartoons.

“They are opening up slowly and we are not pushing them, but they are all very polite, they keep the place perfectly clean, and we are trying to talk although there is a small language barrier.

“There is a lot to be done and more we could do and we need your help.”

You can make a donation to Lewis’ refugee camp by visiting https://bit.ly/3JedqTD

Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, has found it incredibly moving to see the willingness of people across his constituency open up their homes to Ukrainians fleeing their country.

He said: “I have received a very high volume of letters and emails about the situation in Ukraine, the majority concerned with how our society can support refugees.

“This is testament to the spirit and generosity of our community here in North Yorkshire and we saw this over the course of the pandemic and we see this spirit and generosity again now.

“I have been following the situation in Ukraine day-by-day, including regarding matters related to the refugee crisis.”

Mr Smith is now encouraging anyone who is interested in the new Homes for Ukraine scheme to visit https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk/ for more information on how you can help.