Community pub becomes donation hub for Bedford’s Ukrainian relief effort

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Danny Hicks,assistant manager of the Gordon Arms and local resident, Ian Holoweckyj

As the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine intensifies, a pub in Bedford has become a community donation hub after a local resident got in touch to ask for their help.

Ian Holoweckyj, whose father and wife are Ukrainian, reached out to the staff at the Gordon Arms on Castle Road after he said he felt he needed to do something “to fight this atrocity”.

Manager Alex Lawrence and assistant manager, Danny Hicks immediately agreed to offer Ian space in the Gordon Arm’s Ent Shed and as word spread, more and more donations of essential items have been flooding in from generous locals.

“There has been an unprecedented reaction from the community,” said Ian, whose family members live around 200 miles west of Kyiv.

“This has been borne out of crying at the television news for five days and wanting to do something to help.

“The amazing Bedford community has really come together to support us and we’ve been overwhelmed with people’s generosity.”

Ian, who got in touch with Harry Jackson after reading about his efforts in the Bedford Independent, is arranging transport to Ukraine through Harry’s network.

Read: Bedford resident overwhelmed by response to Ukraine aid initiative

He’s also working with an organisation in Milton Keynes to coordinate getting the supplies where they’re needed.

“We’re now starting to understand what’s needed out there and as well as medical and hygiene products, there’s a huge demand for food,” said Ian.

“The supply chain no longer exists, so any donations of dry goods and non-perishables would be amazing.

“Please just bring what you can. Just one packet of biscuits or tea bags will help.”

The pub, which is on the corner of Castle Road and Bower Street, is now accepting all donations from residents and is open every day from 12 noon until 11pm.

“We’re so pleased to be able to help Ian and act as a depot for donations,” said Danny.

“We’ve been bowled over by the response from our local community already and Wells & Co have confirmed that they’ll be providing boxes to help us pack up the supplies.”

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