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FOCUS: One year on...how has Jersey supported Ukraine?

FOCUS: One year on...how has Jersey supported Ukraine?

Friday 24 February 2023

FOCUS: One year on...how has Jersey supported Ukraine?

Friday 24 February 2023


Cries of "Slava Ukraini" rang out in the Royal Square last year as islanders pledged to stand by Ukraine in the wake of the brutal assault on the country launched by Russia... so how has the island translated that promise into action?

From supporting premature babies with incubators and knitted woolly hats to funding bomb disposal training, sending over fire trucks and lorryloads of clothing and supplies and embracing Ukrainian culture and refugees, Express looks back on the support given since the war began on 24 February 2022...

Lorryloads of donations 

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Pictured: "This note made me cry. Found it in a bag full of toys. From Romanian child living in Jersey and donating to Ukrainian child living now in Poland," said Magdalena.

Just days after news hit of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, islanders instantly banded together to support the war-hit nation.

More than 9,500 bags filled with warm clothing, sanitary products, bedding and other essentials were collected in the island over the course of one week as part of an initiative coordinated by honorary Polish Consul Magda Chmielewska to support Ukrainians fleeing from the conflict.

The bags filled four lorries, which made a 48-hour journey across Europe before eventually being handed over to Catholic relief charity Caritas in Rzeszow in south-east Poland.

Fire trucks for Ukraine

In April, a team of six local firefighters left the island to drive two former Jersey fire engines to Ukraine, in addition to an array of emergency equipment.

Luke Burton, Matt Coote, John Richardson, Richard Wilson, Brian Brown, and Graham Stokes, who all volunteered their time, headed firstly to Kent before continuing onwards to Poland. The cost of the ferry crossing to Portsmouth was covered by Condor Ferries.

Meanwhile, Jersey Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Service, who are part of Ports of Jersey, donated a number of items including protective clothing and medical supplies.

Before they set off, children from the families of the local firefighters donated a teddy bear or soft toy to travel with the fire engines for the children in the Ukraine (pictured above).

Funding "among the highest per capita in the world"

Bailiff's Ukraine Appeal

Pictured: The Bailiff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, set up a special appeal for Ukraine following the outbreak of the war.

Jersey has now committed £3.1m to support Ukraine and its neighbouring countries since the outbreak of war - a contribution that puts the island among the top in the world for donations per capita.

Around £1m of that was a government contribution to the Bailiff's Ukraine Appeal, another £1m from Jersey Overseas Aid's emergencies budget, and the remainder being public donations generated through simple acts of generosity or big fundraisers like Ukraine week, which saw funds generated through the creation of a 'Living Flag' and a 'Splash Out' event.

Supporting premature babies in Ukraine

Incubator mOm Ukraine JOA Credit mOm Incubators: .jpg

Pictured: One of the mOm incubators looking after a baby.

Jersey Overseas Aid has been responsible for distributing that funding, and has so far ensured it has gone towards securing and delivering around 4,000 medical trauma kits, 150 flak jackets and helmets for medics and dozens of incubators.

The latter have been a priority as the stress of war has led to a sharp rise in premature births in Ukraine.

The incubators Jersey Overseas Aid has funded - called 'mOm' - weigh only 20 kg and are compact compared to traditional incubators which can weigh up to 100kg.

They are vital in helping save the lives of premature babies by providing a safe and stable temperature and blocking out excessive noise and commotion which may impact their blood pressure and sleep.

Meanwhile, members from the Rotary Club across the Channel Islands - who have so far raised £60,000 to help Ukraine - have launched an appeal to islanders to knit and donate woollen hats to help keep babies warm.

baby hat rotary club

Pictured: The Rotary Club is hoping islanders will knit baby hats to help little ones in Ukraine.

More information and patterns for a hat can be obtained from Rotary Club past president Allan Smith, who can be contacted on allansmithjsy@outlook.com or 01534 780373.

Bomb disposal training

FOU-EOD - Ukraine bomb disposal training

Pictured top: Funding from Jersey is helping provide Ukrainians, many of them women, with bomb-disposal training on specialist courses.

Money from Jersey has also supported the training of Ukrainians in bomb disposal.

As well as funding medical supplies and generators for health facilities in the now-twinned town of Mykolaiv, Jersey Overseas Aid's £400,000 in top-up funding announced this week will enable more people, particularly women, to be sent on accredited bomb disposal courses.

More than 250,000 explosive devices have already been removed and destroyed in Ukraine since March 2022, but millions more exist, the JOA said.

Welcoming Ukrainian refugees to Jersey

Annoshka kehoe

Pictured: Ukrainian islander Annoshka Kehoe, with her twin sister Tania Gsiuman, nephew Vlad Gsiuman and mother, Olga Kalugina, who came to Jersey for safety.

As well as making donations to those in the country, Jersey has also welcome dozens of Ukrainians with families on the island.

The refugees were given special visas by government, enabling them to settle on the island, and £250,000 in support funding was put in place.

The Rotary Club also supported the displaced families with The Strasser Jersey Foundation Trust set up by a local Rotarian giving £5,000 in financial gifts.

Among those to come to the island were the mother, twin sister and nephew of islander Annoshka Kehoe.

Hours after Vladimir Putin's 'special operation' began, the trio piled into a car to begin a frantic cross-country journey from their home in the port town of Odessa to the Polish border in the hope of getting to Jersey.

Once settled on the island, the family - like other Ukrainians who have come to Jersey - teamed up with local co-operative SCOOP to cook traditional meals as a way of saying "thank you" to islanders, while raising money to help those still trapped in their war-torn country.

Video: Ukrainian islander Annoshka Kehoe speaks about a cooking fundraiser her family, who fled to Jersey, took part in alongside SCOOP.

Speaking on behalf of the Ukrainian community, islander Lera Evered said: "Jersey has shown a fantastic level of support. The 'newcomers' settled well.

"Some decided to return to Ukraine later as they missed home, some started working in Jersey. The move to Jersey for all was sudden and traumatic...

"All of us have stories to tell about our families and friends, families of friends and strangers. Some people would not mind speaking out, some are not ready yet to share their experiences."

Spreading the word

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Pictured: Jersey College for Girls students baked lemon biscuits - which were later sold at lunchtime - alongside Jersey's Ukrainian community as part of the school's Festival of Culture last June.  

Lera explained that the Ukrainian community has also been working on educating and raising awareness about Ukrainian culture in Jersey.

She explained: "Various presentations were given on the history, food, music, costumes and geography and other aspects of daily lives of Ukrainians. The taste, crafts, dance and clothes were brought to St. Helier at the Ukrainian Market first time ever on 24 August 2022. The public got to try Ukrainian borsch at The Soup Kitchen in December 2022.

"A local dance school performed for three hours at the Ukrainian Market , alongside three Jersey musicians. A local bakery baked Ukrainian bread.

"Art exhibitions were organised not only in Jersey, but also in Guernsey showing amazing photography and textiles.

"Huanui Music brought high-class concert musicians from Guernsey for the concert of classic music in Jersey Town Church in June 2022.

"Musical Originals of Jersey and Jersey College for Girls choirs performed pieces of Ukrainian music on several occasions.

"Books and presentational materials designed and printed about Ukraine were provided in the Jersey Library, and movies about 2014 Kyiv Maydan and about Holodomor tragedy of 1932 to 1933 were shown."

Jersey will be falling silent at 11:00 today to mark the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

SUPPORT...

Click HERE if you wish to donate to the Ukraine fundraising effort.

If you wish to make a woolly hat to support a baby in Ukraine, more information and patterns for a hat can be obtained from Rotary Club past president Allan Smith, who can be contacted on allansmithjsy@outlook.com or 01534 780373.

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