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What you can do to help Ukrainians as Russia invades

People are coming together to help Ukrainian fighters, civilians and refugees following Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

The attack, launched on February 24, has seen more than 500,000 people flee to neighbouring countries – mainly to Poland, as well as to Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania.

Here in the UK, Boris Johnson has announced that immediate family members will be able to join Ukrainians settled in the UK as they flee the war.

It comes after the government was criticised over failing to relax the visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals earlier this week.

On Sunday (February 27), Downing Street said the measure would “benefit many thousands of people who at this moment are making desperate choices about their future”.

An additional £40 million of humanitarian aid will be sent to Ukraine to help aid agencies provide necessities and medical supplies in Ukraine. Government humanitarian experts will also be deployed to the region to support refugees fleeing the violence.

The Prime Minister said: “The UK will not turn our backs in Ukraine’s hour of need. We are providing all the economic and military support we can to help those Ukrainians risking everything to protect their country.”

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “This is a welcome first step forward and should have happened days ago as too many desperate family members have been struggling and delays have been deeply damaging.

“We hope this announcement includes wider family as well as just the closest relatives and it is vital that we see those details as soon as possible.

“Now, the government should also work with European countries on a wider sanctuary arrangement so the UK can also do its bit alongside others to help Ukraine.”

Bridget Chapman, from the Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN), said the UK should do more than accept a relatively low number of refugees in relation to the country's wealth.

She added: “We should be doing all that we can to make sure that they can get here safely.”

Bridget Chapman from KRAN explains how we should be doing more to help refugees

Although Britons were urged not to travel to Ukraine to join the fighting by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, you can still help from home as the government has encouraged people to direct money to aid organisations rather than giving physical items.

Many donation points across Kent are now having to turn away new donations due to funding issues and getting the supplies to Eastern Europe.

The owners at Ela's Cakes in Chatham were overwhelmed with donations, but in a recent post on their Facebook page they said that they were no longer accepting donations as they needed to sort through what had already been dropped off.

Instead, donations can be taken to Matthew Memorial Hall, Castle Ave, Rochester ME1 2DU

Volunteers Sara Daly(left) and Sharon Edwards (55261787)
Volunteers Sara Daly(left) and Sharon Edwards (55261787)

It's a similar picture at the collection point set up by students at MidKent College in Gillingham.

They put a temporary pause on receiving donations yesterday and said: "The drop-off points for your donations to support people in Ukraine are currently full and we need to pause for a moment to sort and box your donations for shipping before we can accept more.

"Please don't be offended, but we now need to refuse any further donations that arrive at our sites until space is cleared."

They are now asking people to instead donating boxes and shipping donations so that the goods can be sent off.

To get in touch contact camilla.maurice@midkent.ac.uk.

People from Kent have set up donation spots to help Ukrainians at war
People from Kent have set up donation spots to help Ukrainians at war

Ashford-based charity Cry In The Dark, will provide aid from outside the UK.

Cry In The Dark has a residential home for children and adults with special needs in Romania, called Casa Albert.

The facility will now be used as refugee centre and will take in people fleeing Ukraine.

Steve Cooper, from Cry In The Dark, said: "I cannot think, at this moment in time, a better purpose than helping those refugees from the Ukraine."

Casa Albert will be able to host approximately 25 families, but the centre needs ongoing donations as they are not sure for how long their doors will need to be open.

Click here to make a donation.

Steve Cooper from Cry In The Dark talks about how its facility in Romania has become a refugee centre.

People from Maidstone can drop-off donations at QP Online, Unit 22 Integra, Bircholt Road, Maidstone, ME15 9GQ.

Items asked for include thermal blankets, sleeping bags, bedding and towels, military mattresses, camp beds, tents, raincoats, and pillows

You can also donate supplies such as personal hygiene products, masks and first aid items, re-usable tableware sets, batteries, candles, flashlights and any sort of non-perishable food (such as canned food, instant soup, cereals or pasta).

Anyone in Aylesford will be able to donate at Sasco Sauces Ltd, 2 St Michaels Close, Aylesford, ME20 7BU

Sasco Sauces and DBFS Food Safety Consulting have come together to help as many Ukrainian citizens as possible, starting with those who need immediate help and will carry on for as long as it is needed.

Urgently needed items include non-perishable food (canned food, pasta, flour, vegetable oil), baby formula, baby nappies and wet towels, feminine care products, hygiene care products (shower gels, shampoo, detergents), medicines and medical care items.

All donations will be sent and distributed to anyone in need in Sighetu Marmatiei, Maramures, Romania.

Watch tonight's Lowdown as we ask how the UK should react to the crisis in Ukraine

Kent Science Park (KSP), near Sittingbourne, is taking part in fundraising and collecting donations for the British Red Cross and creating care packages that will be sent to Ukraine.

Organised by Woodstock House Day Nursery, children of team managers from KSP-based Mortgage Advice Bureau Kent have been taking part in crazy hair day today (Monday).

Mortgage Advice Bureau Kent has donated supplies and has urged other small businesses in Kent which would like to donate to drop-off donations at its KSP site until Thursday.

Danielle Hoynes' living room in Grove Park, near Sittingbourne, is flooded with donations to be sent to the Ukrainian border. Picture: Danielle Hoynes
Danielle Hoynes' living room in Grove Park, near Sittingbourne, is flooded with donations to be sent to the Ukrainian border. Picture: Danielle Hoynes

People can also make a donation from home and completely online, via the Sittingbourne Supporters of Ukraine.

The Facebook group was founded on Sunday (February 27) by Danielle Hoynes, an online retailer from Grove Park.

The page enables people to donate any supplies through a personalised Amazon wishlist, which will then be sent directly to Danielle's team’s homes and later transported to Poland. People can also buy items in stores rather than the wishlist.

Danielle talks about the help she is offering to the people of Ukraine

Danielle said it has been "an endless stream of donations at the door" and her living room is flooded with parcels.

Click here to view the wishlist.

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