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Some big corporate donations take centre stage


A convoy, a film crew and

new life for Frantic.

The summer appears to have been and gone, unless of course that is if you happen to be on the current convoy to the Polish border.  Air Temperature has just been sent back as 34.7c and a tarmac temperature of 52.7c!  

The temperature does not appear to have sucked the life from the great team that are currently on the road with what is one of the more interesting convoys of the past year or so. 

Over the past couple of months there have been some big things going on in the background and we have been working through these larger offers of aid (more on that subject shortly) whilst keeping the wheels moving via semi regular backloads out to Ukraine, all of which have been going to Alla from Ukraine on Palms (UOP) for onward distribution to a variety of cities. 

With the Kakhovka dam bursting on the 6th June, the need has changed, the areas that need aid has changed and how people distribute has changed.  We are clearly very lucky that our contacts on the ground in Ukraine have the necessary contacts to understand what is needed where, when and to a certain degree have the ability to move it to them.     

Speaking to UOP during this disaster we felt that a trip out to meet them, and to better understand how to keep things optimised logistically would be useful. With this in mind Chas and Steve Walsh, a former Trustee of the charity, headed out to Kyiv for a week to meet up with Alla.  The aim was not only to go to some of the most affected and supported areas, but also to work out how best to continue to support them logistically and operationally, in addition to the aid that we are sending on a regular basis now. 

Following a review of their operation, and after discussion with Alla and the Hope and Aid Direct trustees, we agreed to help them by providing 2 pallet trucks and a forklift for use in the warehouse, enabling them to run a quicker and smoother operation. In addition we agreed to donate Frantic, one of our older 7.5 tonne trucks, so they can distribute more aid, to locations further away, in a more efficient way.  Both Chas and Steve came back with great reports of UOP and the operation in general, and we feel that these donations to what is our key partner in the area, will mean that we have the ability to keep pushing aid out to UOP without the fear that they are going to be unable to move it on at the same rate.  This will be particularly important given the larger aid commitments we are now getting from a variety of places. 

This will mean that we will need to purchase a new 7.5 tonne truck, but given the age of Frantic and the new emission regulations, we would have needed to upgrade this truck to one that is Euro 5 or Euro 6 compliant in the near future anyway.  This arrangement therefore, is a good one for all parties, where Frantic is given a new lease of life in an environment that it is suited to. 

We therefore set about thinking about moving Frantic out to Ukraine.  During the planning of this it became quickly apparent that this would be a larger trip due to the great corporate support that we are currently getting from Whitbread/Premier Inn.  We mentioned in the April newsletter about this partnership, and since then we have been working with the teams in the relevant organisations to start the process of collecting, sorting, grading and packing mattresses, moving them around the country as required. 

The team at Whitbread suggested they would like to take a film crew out to Poland and Ukraine to record the journey from start to finish of the mattresses that they are donating.  There are plans afoot to work with Whitbread on several more items that that are thinking they may be able to supply, and given the number of hotels they operate, if they have 1 lamp spare chances are they have 8000, so understanding and documenting how the end to end process works is really useful for them to be able to put proposals to the relevant stakeholders.  In addition to the mattresses mentioned below there are many more in the pipeline and it is envisaged that as these come online they will be moved by backload to Kyiv and then around the country via UOP. 

The current convoy therefore involves a team from Whitbread, including a film crew, Grumpy, one of our 7.5 tonne trucks which is full of mattresses, Frantic which has a mixed load of bedding, medical, toys, sanitary and hygiene and our 40 tonne truck carrying another 40+ mattresses, some new duvets with the rest of the load being the same mixed items as Frantic.  

The trucks have driven through Germany into Poland and are due to reach the border on the 16th.  The plan is then to unload, and reload into a Ukrainian truck who will take the load to Kyiv before it is moved onward, all of which will be put onto film.  Of course, as soon as we have this we can make this available to you via our website and social channels.  For now here are a couple of shots.


A water crisis in Ukraine

Some of you will recall that towards the start of the year we moved some water tanks out to Ukraine.  With that in mind, when the dam burst we thought it wise to speak with our contacts and see if we could replicate the previous loads of water tanks that we sent out.  We were not really prepared for the response!!!!

Whilst initially our contacts could not provide anything, they asked around the UK water networks and Severn Trent Water do have surplus supplies that they want to move.  It has taken a lot of calls and negotiation to move this one forward as we are talking about roughly 50-70 full artic loads, yes that many 40 tonne truck loads of 1000 and 2500l water containers, hoses and other equipment that is badly needed.  

Due to the number of units involved we have needed to work with Alla who has been liaising with a variety of municipalities to work out who needs what.  In a nutshell, as we move forward with this one we could be supporting the communities of Dnipro, Kherson, Mykoliav and Zaporizhzhia. 

The next complication of course is funding this number of trucks, we will of course be relying on all of your fundraising efforts to be able to get these loads moving.  


A medical opportunity

Medical donations are historically complicated.  they involve very specialist equipment, for very specific uses, and with our ethos of making sure we only take the right aid to the right people at the right time it is something that we have actively pushed to other NGO's in the past  This time however, with the offer of medical syringes and other specific items in the millions we were prepared to look closer into this offer to see how we could make this one work. 

The quantities involved could rival the water aid above in terms of truck quantities but for now, we are at the behest of Alla at UOP to ensure that we are able to move these to the required hospitals and final required beneficiaries.  

It is likely that in the first instance, Hope and Aid Direct and TEECH, who we have worked closely with in the past, will take at least 2 large truck loads each and should this be successful, more will follow.  

More details and pictures of course will be published once these items are on their way.  



Given all of the potential trucks that will need to leave the coming months, just to deal with the large corporate donations previously mentioned, let alone the day to day aid, we will need funding.  

We are speaking to government departments to try and obtain support, in particular for the water tanks, however as has always been the case, most of the funding has come from you wonderful people, doing all sorts of great things and we urge you not to stop now.  

If there is any summer left, get out there and do something special and get those funds flowing.  It can be anything that brings in pennies, pounds, hundreds or thousands of pounds. 

One such initiative has been the ongoing fundraising by Great Waltham C of E Primary School.  They have been running a non uniform day and so far have raised £314.45, thank you to all involved. 

Lets see what we can all do to keep these trucks moving and the much needed aid flowing out to Ukraine.  


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