St Albans community fundraising for Ukrainian relief efforts

A group of Harpenden parents organised a collection of essential items for Ukrainian refugees.

A group of Harpenden parents organised a collection of essential items for Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Shannon Welch

The community has been rallying round to support relief efforts for displaced citizens of wartorn Ukraine.

As the Russian invasion machine continues to roll relentlessly across their homeland, thousands of Ukrainians have sought refuge in neighbouring Poland.

Parents from Harpenden schools including Crabtree, High Beeches and Harpenden Academy, and Busy Bees Nursery Leyton Road, organised donations of essential items to send to Ukrainian refugees.

A group of Harpenden parents organised a collection of essential items for Ukrainian refugees.

A group of Harpenden parents organised a collection of essential items for Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Shannon Welch

The initiative was started by the local Russian-speaking and Polish community and other parents, and involved the collection of clothes, bedding, nappies, medicines, first aid and toiletries which were collected and packed by volunteers.

Donations were then dispatched to different organisations organising delivery to the Ukraine-Poland border, and also to the Luton branch of Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, which has an Amazon Wish List on its Facebook page to highlight items urgently needed.

High Beeches mother Shannon Welch said:  "We would all like to thank every single person who donated - it's brilliant to see our community come together like this."

A group of Harpenden parents organised a collection of essential items for Ukrainian refugees.

A group of Harpenden parents organised a collection of essential items for Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Shannon Welch

Following an appeal made by local religious organisation Chabad Lubavitch of Bricket Wood, residents of St Stephen and Park Street wards collected warm clothing, bedding, hygiene items and warm baby clothes, which were dispatched to the border between Poland and Ukraine in a packed 40ft lorry on Monday .

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Local councillor Richard Curthoys said: "Cllr Stella Nash and I posted an appeal on local social media and though various contacts we got the message out. The generosity of residents wanting to help has been truly humbling.

"I have been touched by the donations which poured in and in one case a donation of £500 was made by a resident to help with transport costs etc. The 'ordinary' residents of our district do extraordinary work to offer practical help to refugees. A huge thank you to everyone involved."

Some of the donations for Ukraine relief efforts made in St Stephen and Park Street wards.

Some of the donations for Ukraine relief efforts made in St Stephen and Park Street wards. - Credit: Richard Curthoys

Crabtree Schools also held a cake sale on Saturday to raise money for Ukraine, which raised £840, but a school parent was able to donate this money via their employer donation scheme, with their company matching donations 2:1, so ultimately a grand total of £2,450 was donated.

Supporters of Crabtree Schools held a cake sale to raise funds for Ukraine relief efforts.

Supporters of Crabtree Schools held a cake sale to raise funds for Ukraine relief efforts. - Credit: Amy Wren


Parent Amy Wren, whose children Hannah, six, and Owen, eight, manned a stall, said: "We would like to thank everyone from the school and local community who braved the rain to visit the stalls and were so generous in their donations, not to mention everyone who made the delicious cakes in the first place. It really was a fantastic community achievement!"

Meanwhile, a special beer called Resist is being brewed by Farr Brew at Coleman Green to help raise funds for the people of Ukraine. The beer is the result of a collaboration between the brewery and Herts Advertiser beer columnist Roger Protz.

Roger explained: “When I spoke to Nick Farr and Matt Elvidge at the brewery and told them brewers throughout the world were being urged to brew beers to aid the Ukrainian people, they responded immediately and said they would devise a recipe for a special beer.”

Resist, 4.5 per cent, will be an amber beer and will use hops from Eastern Europe.

Nick Farr said: “Hops are grown in Ukraine but it’s not possible to access them at the moment, so I will use Saaz hops from the Czech Republic and other hops I can source.”

He will get his hops from Charles Farham, the country’s leading hop merchants. The beer will be a cask-conditioned real ale and should be available early next week for sale in Farr Brew’s pubs, including the Elephant & Castle at Amwell and the Reading Rooms in Wheathampstead. A generous proportion of the income from sales will be donated to the International Red Cross.

Roger added: “The shocking pictures coming from the Ukraine showing innocent civilians being slaughtered means we must do everything we can to support the people there. I salute Nick, Matt and their team at Farr Brew for rising to the challenge.”