Community spirit shines through at Arran’s effort for Ukraine

Volunteers sort and pack aid for Ukraine at the high school on Sunday.

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By Colin Smeeton

Arran’s sense of community, compassion and generosity shone brightly last weekend at the collation and packaging initiative held by the Arran for Ukraine group at Arran High School in support of Ukrainian refugees displaced by the war.

More than 40 volunteers helped sort, package, cost and itemise a mountain of donations which had been received from the public and the various collection points around Arran.

The momentous task of meeting the import/export requirements of sending the much-needed aid to Poland was handled with aplomb by organiser TJ Welsh, who directed her army of volunteers with military precision.

All necessary items were categorised, labelled, weighed and then securely packaged, all within just four hours thanks to the efforts of the willing volunteers.

Providing big-business support were the two Co-op stores in Brodick which acted as the largest collection point on the island and which provided a large lorry to transport the donations to St Bride’s Catholic Church in East Kilbride.

The mainland church, along with St Leonard’s Church, also in East Kilbride, agreed to include Arran’s huge contribution on its lorry which is heading towards eastern Poland in the next few weeks, laden with medical supplies and medicines, as well as food, clothing, toys, camping equipment and blankets.

Shared organiser of the Arran for Ukraine initiative TJ Welsh said: ‘We can’t thank everyone enough; from the volunteers on the weekend to the Brodick Co-ops, Arran High School, village halls, and every single person who has donated – you have all made us so proud of Arran.’

The Arran appeal for humanitarian assistance was first started by Asia Ferańska and Michał Krzyżanowski but thanks to the assistance of a number of individuals and businesses it rapidly grew to become the Arran for Ukraine appeal which Asia and Michal both agreed far surpassed their initial modest expectations.

In total 256 boxes of food, baby milk, nappies, toiletries, first aid and medicine supplies, worth over £14,500 was collected and packaged for transport.

This figure does not include the huge amounts of clothing, bedding, prams and toys, which were sorted and packaged and donated to the humanitarian effort which has seen more than a million people displaced from their homes and loved ones since the war began.

In addition to their significant contribution on Arran the Co-op has also said that all cash donated via their tills will go directly to Disasters Emergency Committee and the Co-op head office will match the first £100,000 donated.