Monthly column: Helping Ukraine

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Town Bridge lit up in solidarity with the people of Ukraine

I would like to thank the many local residents who have contact me, either by email or social media or spoken to me whilst I have been out knocking on doors, about the situation in Ukraine.

I, like so many, am shocked and appalled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I have however been impressed and taken heart from the outpouring of support and offers of help.

Bedford Borough has a proud history of humanitarian support during times of international crisis and welcomed refugees fleeing from Syria and most recently Afghanistan. In both of these cases, the Council worked with the Home Office and the Local Government Association to help support these refugees, and we stand ready again to help those fleeing Ukraine.

It is utterly shocking and I am very disappointed to have found out on Sunday that the Government has only granted ‘around 50’ visas so far. The Government needs to do more and do more now!

Last week I met with some of Bedford Borough’s Ukrainian community. Listening to our residents telling us of their family and friends’ experiences in Ukraine was beyond heart-breaking.

You may have seen we lit the Town Bridge and Riverside Bridge blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag, to show our solidarity though it seems such a little thing in the face of what is happening in Ukraine.

It is so difficult to know what we can do as individuals and so many residents have already contacted me to ask how they can help.

Having spoken with some of Bedford Borough’s Ukrainian community we have identified three ways in which you can help:

  • Donate essential items that will be transported to Ukraine. The most needed right now are, batteries, torches and candles, dry sanitary products, thermal clothes, gloves and hats, painkillers and duvets, blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and bedding. You can donate at a variety of locations, I will post updates on my social media and through my regular email – and I know Bedford Independent will do the same.
  • Donate money to the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain at gofundme.com/f/helpukraine.
  • Sign the petition on Parliament’s website calling on the Government to waive visas requirement for Ukrainian refugees here.

This is a monthly guest column provided by
Mayor Dave Hodgson. It is published unedited and
does not reflect the views of the Bedford Independent.

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