'We've been absolutely overwhelmed': Donations from across the South pour in for Ukraine

280222 UKRAINE DONATIONS Southampton Meridian
In Southampton, donations have poured into a centre after the Polish Social Club appealed for help

Communities across the South East have been united in their efforts to help those affected by the invasion of Ukraine.

One cricket club in Surrey has been collecting donations for those who've had to flee their homes.

Marta Jarosiewicz was inspired by her friend to post on social media and ask for people to drop off items for people in Ukraine. Her friend had hired a van over the weekend to go to Poland, loaded with donations.

Marta said: "I thought why don't I do something like that? I created a post on social media and it just went viral. I'm just overwhelmed."

One of the Vice Captains and a few players in the ladies team at Frimley Cricket Club saw the post on social media. The club offered to support and drive donations, so people in the town can drop off the supplies.

  • Marta Jarosiewicz, collection organiser:

Marta Jarosiewicz said: "We're trying to organise the essential stuff that the Ukrainian people who came across the borders may need. Some of them have come with literally nothing and others with just one suitcase and with babies and small children.

"We have about 400,000 women and children who came across the Polish borders, so we're trying to organise items like clothes and nappies. We're looking for anything that might be essential, even power banks, so they can get in touch with their husbands who have actually stayed in Ukraine to fight for their country.

"We're neighbours with Ukraine and I just feel like I have to help. It's something little, it's nothing big."

John Hebditch, Director of Cricket, Frimley Cricket Club said: "It's really sad to see anyone getting hurt and being harmed. I have children myself and it's heartbreaking for the community and I hope it gets sorted soon."

Marta Jarosiewicz was inspired by her friend to post on social media and ask for people to drop off items Credit: ITV Meridian

The donation drives are one of many efforts going on across the Thames Valley.

Olga Kott has lived near Andover for 15 years, but still has family back in Ukraine. She's planning on setting up a website to channel offers of support to those most in need.

Olga has also organised a prayer service and said she can't sleep because she's so worried about her family living through the conflict. 

She said: "It seems like we had one life before and in one night everything changed. It changed for Ukrainian people who lost their peace, lost their projects and jobs and everything that they dream about. We just want to support our family and our country and do something bigger for them - to do real help for them."

  • Olga Kott, Ukrainian national:

In Southampton, donations of vital good for those fleeing Ukraine have poured into a centre after the Polish Social Club appealed for help. 

Another lorry, in addition to the two lorry loads that have already been collected, will leave later this week.

Paulina Kozlowka, Polish Social Club, said the amount of donations were "nothing like what they expected".

She said: "We thought we would send one van over to Poland and that would be it but it turns out that people in Southampton are ready to help and obviously feel very helpless like we do, so everyone's doing their bit. We've been absolutely overwhelmed."

Elsewhere in the city, in Portswood, volunteers have been working hard to collect the items being given for the women and children fleeing the country.

Dominik Kiepura, volunteer, said: "We are absolutely amazed at the sheer amount of help that people want to give. It's been none stop with phones ringing and people trying to bring in stuff. It's incredible. We're so grateful that people are wanting to help, it is unprecedented, I haven't seen anything like it before."

Dominik Kiepura, volunteer:

In Reading, Magdalena Galaszewska is one of many from the Polish community who have offered to help. 

She filled her car with supplies, as more and more people offered to help and offer donations. 

She says it is only the beginning of help and is hoping to do another collection soon.  

Magdalena Galaszewska from Reading has donated lots of items to people in Ukraine Credit: Magdalena Galaszewska