Our communities rally to support Ukrainians in desperate need

Ukrainian flag

Can you help support the people of Ukraine? - Credit: FreeImages

As the war rages on in Ukraine, people in our area are taking action to show solidarity with the invaded country and gather aid for those caught up in the humanitarian crisis.

At 5pm on Friday, at the clock tower in Stevenage's Town Square, a public event is being held to pray for peace, observe a minute's silence and sing the Ukrainian national anthem.

Held in partnership with Stevenage Borough Council and Stevenage World Forum, organiser Michal Siewniak called it a "simple and symbolic gettogether".

He said: "The war continues. Members of the Ukrainian community are fleeing their country and many others stayed behind to defend their sovereign nation. The war has already cost so many lives.

"Poland has welcomed, in less than a week, around 200,000 refugees from Ukraine. Schools, churches, many charities and thousands of people have shown their generosity and willingness to help those who are in desperate need of help.

"Many people in the UK are doing their part in supporting members of the Ukrainian community. One of the ways to show our solidarity is gatherings in towns and cities across the country.

"Please come along and spread the word if you can."

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At The Orange Tree pub in Hitchin, £100 was raised over the weekend by putting a jar on the bar for customers to make donations. The pub's manager has also added £350 of his own money to the pot.

Wawelski Polish Delicatessen in Stevenage town centre is collecting food and other essentials for Ukrainians in need.

A spokesman for the shop said: "We kindly ask you to refrain from donating clothing as, at this time, we have received information they have sufficient quantities. We ask you to focus on bringing such things as blankets, sleeping bags, long-life food products, food and milk for children, painkillers and disinfectant fluids.

"We encourage you to take part in the action. Together we can do a lot.

"The collection is going on until March 11. Bring items to our store every day from 7pm to 9pm."

Other items being collected by the delicatessen include nappies, sanitary products, children's bottles and plastic dishes, and toiletries including soap, shampoo, hairbrushes, toothbrushes and toothpaste.