How Haringey is supporting Ukraine

Local resident Amanda McGrath discusses the essential voluntary work she does in delivering supplies to Ukraine

Credit: Jay Huang Aeou via Unsplash

In August 2022, I volunteered to help the not-for-profit organisation Driving Aid to Ukraine, under the guidance of Haringey resident Michael Byrne. He set up the group after he witnessed several UK-based voluntary organisations struggling to get aid donated to Ukrainian refugee camps.

In lockdown, I had the opportunity to do some volunteering and afterwards joined Driving Aid to Ukraine as it felt very close to my heart; my mother was a refugee from Gdansk (now Poland) before the Second World War and I was aware of how this could really be any of us, at any time.

The aim is to raise funds for transportation fuel and remain agile and responsive – our longterm objective is to have two regular deliveries a month. In winter, the need is ever more urgent – hopefully this will lead to the rebuilding of Ukraine in the years to come.

As a logistics organisation, we get specific requests from inside Ukraine, working with our partners on the ground and delivering into areas where help is needed; the front line, to civilians that can’t easily be reached, and into refugee centres. A lot of the time the larger charities are struggling to do this, and this is what makes our organisation unique and personal. We are on a smaller scale, not only putting people together who are collecting goods, but enabling access to places which are difficult to reach by planning transportation. The organisation of this is extremely challenging but we have succeeded where other charities have often failed.

We are developing a UK, Polish and Ukrainian network of trusted partners (some of whom are charities), bringing appropriate advisors on board as well as building local media support. Lacking experience in this field, I have found it both challenging and rewarding but am so pleased to have begun this journey.

Driving Aid to Ukraine is run by volunteers who are based in Haringey and Barnet, and we have received many donations from residents in both boroughs. All our time is unpaid and donations directly cover transport costs. We are also trialling an exciting new idea: sponsoring a pallet, whereby £100 will pay for one UK pallet to take up to one tonne of donations. We need to put 24 UK pallets onto an articulated truck to achieve that price.

Driving Aid to Ukraine is a small but growing organisation and we will be around for as long as we are needed.

For more information visit drivingaidtoukraine.org

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