South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) staff have arranged for over 50 tonnes of clothing, blankets, toiletries, baby products, first aid equipment, medicines and other much needed supplies to be sent to Ukraine to help people affected by the ongoing crisis in the country.
Staff at Didcot and Stoke Mandeville (Aylesbury) Resource Centres organised the appeal and were overwhelmed with the level of donations received from SCAS staff and local people and businesses in and around Didcot, Aylesbury, Haddenham and Waddesdon.
Kate Ellis, Paramedic Team Leader at Didcot Resource Centre, said:
“We originally thought we should be able to get enough donations to fill a 7.5 tonne truck but the amount we have received has filled an HGV articulated lorry that should arrive in the area early next week. My colleagues at SCAS never cease to amaze me as many of them came in on their days off to help sort and package all the donations we received at Didcot. Those on duty this week have also helped during their meal breaks as well as either come in early or stayed on after their shift ended to help out.”
The generosity of staff donations was also matched by members of the public who dropped off supplies to Didcot Resource Centre and also to Waddesdon Hall in Buckinghamshire. Supplies at Waddesdon Hall were sorted and packed, before being taken across to meet the HGV in Didcot by a team of amazing local volunteers.
Piotr Ogrodnik, Trainee Specialist Practitioner – Paramedic at Stoke Mandeville Resource Centre, added:
“It has been a very emotional experience to witness the generosity of my colleagues, and local people and businesses in the community who have come together to help people thousands of miles away who are facing a desperate situation. It is great to see the local communities around Aylesbury responding so well and working with Svetlana Wilson and the SCAS team in Didcot to get help to where it is really needed.
“There is already an overwhelming amount of clothes at the Polish-Ukrainian border so I would ask people who want to help to consider donating money to the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine appeal. The DEC brings together 15 leading aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently getting aid to people who need it fast. Any money you can spare, however small, will help make a real difference.”
As well as the donations from SCAS staff and members of the public, there were generous donations from the Intensive Care Unit and New Wing Theatres at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The delivery to the Ukraine would not have been possible without the Tesco in Didcot who donated a large amount of over-the-counter medicines and baby milk and The Co-op Garage, Didcot, who donated fuel for the HGV. The team at Boundary Park in Great Western Park, Didcot, has also kindly offered use of its storage and parking facilities for this first and future deliveries. The local community has also been helped out by the donations as any food supplies that would not have cleared customs were given to Didcot Food Bank and Didcot Family Centre received similar child foods.
Further deliveries are planned and appeals for specific items – such as bottled water or first aid supplies – will be requested via a soon to be live website and social media channels. Anyone responding to these future local appeals is asked to ensure any donations are thoroughly sorted beforehand and donated items are described exactly on any boxes or containers as this really helps the work of the volunteers.
If members of the public wish to continue supporting humanitarian efforts in the Ukraine and surrounding countries, please do not donate any more clothing or other supplies to Didcot or Stoke Mandeville Resource Centres, but consider making a secure, online cash donation to:
Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Appeal – https://www.dec.org.uk/
The SCAS teams in Didcot and Aylesbury are working with Svetlana Wilson, a Ukrainian national, to pay for the first and future lorries and fuel that will take much needed food, medication and other supplies to Ukrainian refugees. Secure online donations to support this local activity can be made at: https://www.collectionpot.com/pot/1381223/
Notes for editors:
- SCAS employs around 1,850 staff in its frontline operations, around 275 in its emergency operations centres, around 325 in its NHS 111 service and around 700 in its patient transport service
- The Trust provides services in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Sussex (as well as an NHS 111 Dental Service for parts of Dorset).