Group helps Ukraine

By Review reporter   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 13th April 2022 12:00 pm

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A GROUP of volunteers from the Forest of Dean have rallied in recent weeks to amass a huge amount of aid to be sent to frontline soldiers in Ukraine.

Two HGVs left Whitecroft last Friday morning (April 1) bound for the Polish-Ukrainian border to deliver food rations, medical supplies and four 4x4 vehicles to the Ukrainian army as Russia’s invasion of the country entered its sixth week.

The massive amount of aid was sourced in just two weeks by newly-formed charity group HUBB (Helping Ukraine Build Back), which is based at the Vantage Point Business Village in Mitcheldean.

Staff from the Forest of Dean Growth Hub, local businessman and Vantage Point owner Brian Bennett and volunteer coordinator Lance Morgan have liaised with ex-service personnel from the UK and Ukraine to establish exactly what is needed by the frontline soldiers fighting the war, as well as arranging the aid’s collection and delivery.

The volunteers say their aim is to provide “some level of comfort” to Ukrainian soldiers to prevent the enemy from gaining a “significant psychological advantage” on the front line.

Growth Hub manager and volunteer Tom El-Shawk explained: “The idea is that we want to make a difference to the soldiers fighting on the front line.

“There’s been lots going on in terms of humanitarian aid to support refugees which needs to happen, but if these guys are fighting on an empty stomach, there’re going to be a lot more refugees than there are currently.”

The group have put together food packages containing dried meals, porridge sachets, protein bars, energy drinks and tea and coffee, as well as stoves and flints for cooking and water sterilisation tablets.

They have also sent sleeping bags, items of warm clothing and medical supplies such as first aid and medical burns kits, as well as practical items including tow ropes and jump leads, walkie talkies with batteries and charging packs for mobile phones.

Some of the items have been donated by suppliers, while others have been paid for out of the members’ own pockets.

The 4x4s were sourced from the Mile High Trade Centre in Lydney, which were half-and-half paid for by the group and donated by the centre, and local estate agents KJT donated £500 to have the vehicles filled up with fuel.

The volunteers gathered at Vantage Point’s Xite Racing site in Whitecroft last week where a team worked to load the 4x4s and boxes of supplies onto the lorries using Xite’s loading equipment.

Coordinator Lance Morgan said: “I would like to thank the Vantage Point Xite Racing team, without them none of this would have happened.

“I also want to thank the Mile High Trade Centre in Lydney, who have been a massive help to me in getting all of this together.

“A special thanks also goes to KJ Toombs, who’ve sponsored the fuel to get to the vehicles and supplies to Ukraine.”

HUBB are now looking to raise awareness of their appeal for further donations and volunteers as the project moves forward.

Details of volunteer roles can be found on the group’s social media pages - HUBB Helping Ukraine Build Back on Facebook, @helpingukrainebuildback on Instagram, and @HelpUkraineBB on Twitter.

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