Our Direct Support For The Plight Of The Ukrainian People

Providing shelter from conflict

Providing shelter from conflict
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When, alongside the rest of the world, we watched in horror as tragedy and war struck Ukraine in February, we felt compelled to do as much as we could to support the Ukrainian people who were being forced to escape their war torn home.

Our values as a business centre around supporting and building communities, so Dorchester Partner, Gary Silver, was keen to reflect those values by prioritising action over discourse when looking for ways to support displaced Ukrainian people. So, on 11th March, he travelled to Warsaw, Poland, where he and Sandra Galilejeva and a team of friends – provided support to refugees crossing the border from Ukraine. Full details of this aid mission can be found here.

In the weeks since, Gary and the team have been working on the ground to help relocate displaced Ukrainian refugees, supporting them with transport, accommodation, money, and any other essentials they require.

We have worked to acquire two hostels in Warsaw, as well as two minibuses (courtesy of Ageturs, Gordon League RFC and Warburton Building Services and, over the past seven weeks, our Providing Shelter From Conflict team has hosted and supported 72 families, totalling 250 people.

Sandra has been coordinating the team in Warsaw, and leading day-to-day efforts in buying food, securing transport, sourcing medical supplies, and helping to form communities of support and companionship within the hostels, as well as providing a further 30 meals a day for people sheltering in local halls. Through this work, we have come to know each of the families very closely and they have shared their stories with us which we have posted online to highlight the impact of the war and vitality of the work that so many volunteers are doing.

Throughout this time, we have worked with and been advised by Chabad Warsaw, a community outreach organisation led by the local synagogue. Please take a look at the video below.

Our main focus now is securing UK visas for as many families as possible while purchasing plane and train tickets to help them find secure new homes in nations such as Lithuania, Finland, France, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, Canada, North America, and the UK. We are maintaining constant contact with everyone to ensure that, wherever in the world they are, they’re settling in and finding some sort of comfort despite the enormous tragedy of having to flee their homes. 

Moving forward, our primary concern is now securing UK visas and raising money to provide further transport, accommodation, and basic essentials for refugees who are still sheltering in Poland. So far, we have raised in excess of £200,000 through our Just Giving page and private donations. 

We have welcomed two Ukrainian families into Oxford to live in our Heyford Park development. One of these families was among the first people Gary and Sandra met when they arrived in Poland: a mother with three daughters who have fled while their father, a religious leader in their community, has stayed behind to fight in defence of the country. You can learn more about their extraordinary and often upsetting experience by watching Anastasia’s Story on YouTube

All of this work has only been possible thanks to the brilliant support we have received from numerous people and organisations, and we will continue to offer our help to the Ukrainian people for as long as they require it.

The video that accompanies this update shows Tatiana and Denys being picked up by their sponsor family at Bristol airport. Then we have Olena, Ruslan, Anastasiia, Arina and Maryna in London after getting a warm welcome from their sponsor family. Anastasia, Hanna, Hordii and Maria with their lovely sponsor family in Doncaster in their beautiful house, and an image of her two gorgeous children. Maria attends the local school now. Anastasia’s husband back in Ukraine in armed forces. Greeting in Ukrainian by their English family, which says “Warm Welcome” and, lastly, Vika settling in, in her new room.