Brighton homeless charity volunteers set off with aid for Ukraine

Posted On 14 Mar 2022 at 6:10 pm

Three minibus-loads of aid set off for Ukraine from Brighton today (Monday 14 March).

Volunteers from the Sussex Homeless Support charity and staff from the Sussex Security Services are travelling to just inside the country’s border with Hungary to deliver goods to save lives.

Seven people are taking it in turns to drive about 1,330 miles to the Ukrainian border – and hope to arrive late tomorrow.

Sussex Security Services operations manager Ray Gold said: “In the past year we have provided security for refugee hotels in Brighton, Eastbourne, Gatwick, Heathrow and beyond.

“As a result, many of us have first-hand knowledge and connection with understanding of the plight of refugees.

“The total cost of this trip is being fully funded out of the pockets of the company’s directors and all staff involved are doing so as willing and keen volunteers.”

The charity believes that it may be the first convoy of aid from Brighton and Hove to be sent to the stricken country.

According to UNICEF, a million children have been displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine – and a huge effort to help is under way across the globe.

The Brighton charity, based near Preston Circus, has been helping homeless people locally for seven years – and as the war in Ukraine unfolded, those involved knew that it could play a role.

Founder Jim Deans said: “When I saw the need for help arise, I felt we could do this as we are able to step up to do things like this.

“We have had a phenomenal response for items and people have come forward to help itemise and pack stuff.

“I had a meeting with customs at Newhaven to find out what I should do. I even got my passport renewed otherwise I wouldn’t be able to make it.

“We’ve spent £1,500 on and mini cookers/camping pots. I saw pictures of huge queues on roads and these will be very useful. Women are having to melt snow and sterilise the water to make baby formula.

“We’ve had people in the late seventies come out and work all day to help us with the task of labelling items and packing. The response has been incredible.”

Two Sussex Security Services vehicles and the charity’s minibus have made the trip. The drivers hope to be back by the weekend.

The charity hopes to run another to trip to Ukraine later this month.

To contribute medical equipment, sanitary goods or other items, both the Sussex Homeless Support charity and the recently set up Brighton – Stop the War in Ukraine group, which has more than 900 members, can be contacted via their Facebook pages.

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