13 March 2022
Vara Visits Ukraine Support Centres in North West Cambs

Shailesh Vara MP visited three Centres in his North West Cambridgeshire constituency which are helping to provide supplies for those fleeing from Ukraine.

Shailesh Vara visits St Olga's Church in Woodston, Peterborough

St Olga's Church in Woodston, Peterborough

Mr Vara met Ms Alla Irodenko and Mr Yuriy Zhuravel, leading members of the local Ukrainian community, who have been working full time on a voluntary basis since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. 

He also met Mr Matt Oliver, Head of Think Communities from Peterborough City Council and his colleague Mr John McHattie, Community Connector, along with a number of volunteers at the Centres.

St Olga's Church in Woodston, also known as the Ukraine Church, is taking in all the supplies being donated by the public. Items being given include medicines, tinned food, clothes, sanitary products as well as towels and blankets. 

Some of the goods are being sorted and packed at the church. The rest, especially clothes, are being transferred to the East of England Showground for sorting out into different categories. They are then taken to premises in the Brightfield Business Hub in Orton Southgate ready for transporting to the people of Ukraine. Shipments are being sent out at least twice a week.

Mr Vara thanked the organisers and volunteers at the three Centres and pledged to do all he could to support their efforts, including working with Peterborough City Council and Government Ministers and Departments.

As well as being informed about the logistics of all that is being done, Mr Vara was informed of the generosity of some of the local businesses who are ensuring that the volunteers are provided with food and drink while they are working.

Following the visits, Mr Vara said:

“It was wonderful to see the local community come together in this way to help those in desperate need following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

I give huge thanks to the public who have been extraordinarily generous with their donations and continue to do so. Massive thanks to Alla and Yuriy and all the volunteers who are ensuring that the supplies get across to Ukraine as quickly as possible.

I was also very pleased to see that Peterborough City Council is working closely with the volunteers. The Council's role will, of course, increase in the coming days and weeks as Ukrainians start to arrive in the UK.”

Mr Oliver added:

“Peterborough City Council is proud to be working alongside our local Ukrainian community to help them with their efforts in sending much needed essential items to Ukraine. At this point the Council are taking a coordinating role for immediate needs such as storage, volunteer coordination and communications support.  The response from the people of Peterborough has been amazing as always at this tragic time and we would like to thank everyone who has contacted us or who is taking their own community action to stand together with Ukraine.”

 Ms Irodenko commented:

“Myself and the Ukrainian community here are very grateful for your support. The support that we received warms our hearts.  In this time of need during this war, the whole world has stood shoulder to shoulder in support for Ukraine. I am very proud to be Ukrainian. Thank you to Mr Vara for his support and guidance.”

Mr Zhuravel said:

“Ukrainian Community in Peterborough thanks MP Shailesh Vara for visiting us. He was welcome at all our donation sites. We were touched by his attention to details of our process, and his readiness to help in all our needs now and in the future. Mr Shailesh Vara’s support of our small group, who are giving absolutely all to help Ukraine, is very important to us.”

Shailesh Vara visits sorting and packing supplied for Ukraine at East of England Showground

East of England Showground

Shailesh Vara visits Centre in Brightfield Business Hub in Orton Southgate, Peterborough where donations are being sent to Ukraine

Brightfield Business Hub in Orton Southgate, Peterborough