Donations continue to pour in as Cambridgeshire responds to Ukraine crisis

Burwell volunteers helping Ukraine Lifeline group

Fern Hume (left) and Elene Costi are just two volunteers in Burwell that are helping the 'Ukraine Lifeline' group with donations. - Credit: Liz Tabecki/Fern Humes/Elene Costi

Cambridgeshire’s response to the Ukraine crisis is firmly taking shape as volunteers across the county are being inundated with donations. 

Locations across Fenland and East Cambridgeshire are seeing a plethora of items being donated and collected as part of the ‘Ukraine Lifeline’ group

One volunteer that is helping the cause is Elene Costi, who last week noticed a Burwell resident Fern Hume who wanted to take donations to Ukraine Lifeline herself.  

“It started when Fern, who I met in the village posted regarding taking donations to this newly-established organisation which has taken off massively,” said Elene.  

Burwell volunteers help out for Ukraine Lifeline

Fern Hume (left) and Elene Costi are just two volunteers in Burwell that are helping the 'Ukraine Lifeline' group with donations. - Credit: Liz Tabecki

Burwell donations to help Ukraine

Donations including food and medical aid have flooded into Burwell Sports Centre to help Ukraine. - Credit: Fern Humes and Elene Costi

“I’d already spoken to my neighbour and chairman Ivan Stiff the day before about whether we could use the sports centre for Daria Podedworna who is also one of our volunteers now.” 

Fern, who has Ukrainian relatives, was originally going to transport items in her vehicle to a warehouse in Pymoor for Ukraine Lifeline.  

But after Elene was allowed to use the sports centre by Mr Stiff, they both decided to help Ukraine Lifeline. 

Burwell donations to help Ukraine

Donations including food and medical aid have flooded into Burwell Sports Centre to help Ukraine. - Credit: Fern Humes and Elene Costi

Burwell donations for Ukraine

Donations including food and medical aid have flooded into Burwell Sports Centre to help Ukraine. - Credit: Fern Humes and Elene Costi

Burwell donations for Ukraine

Donations including food and medical aid have flooded into Burwell Sports Centre to help Ukraine. - Credit: Fern Humes and Elene Costi

“On March 2, we had our first donations and I realised this would be bigger than we imagined due to the generosity of the village,” she said. 

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“I am running a rota and trying to get at least six, seven volunteers each evening as we all take turns as work during the day. 

“There's 10 or so taking turns, plus I have several people on standby should we get very busy.” 

Burwell donations for Ukraine

Donations including food and medical aid have flooded into Burwell Sports Centre to help Ukraine. - Credit: Fern Humes and Elene Costi

Items such as non-perishable foods, first aid non-prescription kits, foil blankets, shelter including sleeping bags and infant supplies are now being asked for by volunteers in Burwell. 

And Elene, whose parents fled during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, wants to give something back.

Burwell donations for Ukraine

Donations including food and medical aid have flooded into Burwell Sports Centre to help Ukraine. - Credit: Fern Humes and Elene Costi

Burwell donations for Ukraine

Donations including food and medical aid have flooded into Burwell Sports Centre to help Ukraine. - Credit: Fern Humes and Elene Costi

“I've been inundated with messages of support, people offering to help and thanking us for everything we are doing,” she said. 

"The sports centre, particularly treasurer Martin O'Leary and Ivan, have been so accommodating, allowing us to have access to the changing rooms for donations.

"Steve Smith at the Co-op has also been donating sandwiches and biscuits to help keep us going."

Elene added: "If I can make just a small difference to help ease the suffering of these innocent people by providing the essential items and food they need, that makes me happy."

Fern said it was "incredible" to see the village coming together to help the cause.

She added: "Each doing something small, collectively we can help the millions fleeing this ghastly war and provide some comfort in their time of need."

In Ely, residents have been thanked for dropping off items at Oliver Cromwell’s House before they were taken to Ukraine Lifeline’s main distribution site in Pymoor. 

Craig Taylor of Ukraine Lifeline

Craig Taylor, who helped launch the Ukraine Lifeline group. - Credit: Visit Ely

Meanwhile, Creative Models Ltd of Chatteris have launched a fundraiser to help provide medical and other aid, including tinned food, to Ukraine. 

For more information on where you can drop off items for Ukraine, visit: https://www.ukrainelifeline.com/team-4.