Oddfellows bolstering its support for Ukraine

By Chris Were   |   Reporter   |
Tuesday 13th September 2022 6:00 am
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Katie Fowler from Ross-on-Wye for Ukraine and Garth Morgan trustee from Oddfellows. ()

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A local friendly society has given £4,000 to the Disaster Emergencies Committee’s (DEC) Ukraine appeal.

The donation, made by the North Gloucestershire branch of the Oddfellows which has members in Herefordshire, is to help DEC’s aid charities deliver relief to those affected by the conflict. The local group’s £4,000 donation is on top of a further £30,207.50 given nationally in May by the Oddfellows to the British Red Cross’ Emergency Ukraine Crisis Appeal. The society has also provided emergency food and baby supplies in response to Ross-on-Wye’s KTS Craft’s relief mission to Ukraine.

Over the past 18 months, North Gloucestershire Oddfellows has donated money to Ross Community Gardens, the Blue Cross, CICRA, a charity for children with Crohn’s and Colitis, funded PPE and medical equipment for a convalescent home in Ross-on-Wye, and to 11 emergency foodbanks across the region.

Explaining why it was important to show support, Alex Walker, development officer for North Gloucestershire Oddfellows said: “Ukraine’s over a thousand miles away, but the desperate situation of many of its civilians is front of mind for us.

“Looking after the welfare of people is central to what we do. We can’t ignore the suffering that so many people have gone through and are still experiencing as a result of the conflict. We had to do our bit. ”

On June 9 this year, the DEC reported that its Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal had raised over £350 million.

Alex added: “Charitable giving, especially to support our local community, is very important to us, as well as championing friendship. In fact our motto is ‘Making friends and helping people’.

“Indeed, if anyone has relocated here from Ukraine and feels that they could benefit from some friendly company, you are more than welcome to join us at any of our social events. We have regular meet-ups in Churchdown, Cheltenham and across the county, as well as many online events that are open to all.”

Established in 1810, the Oddfellows is one of the largest and oldest friendly societies in the UK, with 42,250 members across 113 branches nationwide.

The group is a non-profit mutual run by members for members, and they do their best to improve the quality of people’s lives through friendship, care, and charity.

Earlier this year the Gazette reported that Katie Fowler has been running the Ross hub for the Ukraine appeal and continues to send aid out to the country.

With her help a Ukrainian family were able to escape and safely make it to the UK. They’re now adjusting to their new situation.

Katie and four others made the journey to Ukraine to deliver supplies first hand. They travelled to Suceava in Romania, which operates as a staging area before supplies make it across the border. Since getting supplies across the border is difficult, the team made the journey themselves and spent 24 hours in Ukraine.

They visited the refugee centres that were helped by the campaign, as well as the orphanage for disabled children which also received help. The team met up with the woman who delivers supplies into more dangerous areas and loaded her up with further aid to be taken in.

KTS Crafts Ukraine appeal received a £100 anonamas donation on September 6. For those wishing to help the appeal, cash donations allow for the most flexibility in providing what’s most useful to those who need it most. If there’s a shortage of a particular item, cash can be used to buy in what’s needed. Donations can be made through the campaign’s GoFundMe 
bit.ly/kts-ukraine-aid.

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