Delegation from war-torn Ukrainian city visits Swindon to thank town for aid

By Jamie Hill - 27 May 2024


A delegation from a charitable foundation from Kharkiv visited Swindon on Friday to thank the Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership (SHAP) for its help.

The delegation from the charity Peaceful Heaven of Kharkiv visited the town as part of a tour of the UK which saw them visiting Holyrood in Edinburgh and Westminster.

They were accompanied on the tour by Mike Bowden, the chair of SHAP, as they met representatives of the Scottish and UK Parliaments to ensure that the war-torn city of Kharkiv is not forgotten when it comes to humanitarian aid.

At an event at the SHAP warehouse in Station Industrial Estate the Kharkiv delegation sang folk songs and spoke about the devastation the city is facing from Russian forces.

The event was attended by Swindon Council Leader Jim Robbins as well as other dignitaries from the town.

Mike Bowden said: "As it says on the tin The Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership (SHAP) exists to support Ukraine and Ukrainians. Next week, as yet another articulated truck rolls across the border into Ukraine - loaded with 52 pallets of hygiene products donated to SHAP - we pass a key milestone - the delivery of over 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

"Can I welcome the delegation to our modest warehouse - our base and spiritual home - so generously provided by Swindon Borough Council - and thank each and every one of you for the effort, committment and generosity you have show to help us make just little bit of difference to the lives of innocent people - lives that have been turned upside down and scarred by tragedy following the Russian invasion of their country.

"Spending time with this hugely impressive delegation has been a pleasure and a privilege. It has also been a chilling reminder of the brutal reality of war. Every day they receive calls and messages about missile strikes in their home city. Reports of deaths and injuries to people they may well know.

"Along with fellow Brit Tony Strutt from V Aid, the six of us are part way through a tour of the UK. Our mission is to reemphasise and remind Parliamentarians, officials, fellow charities, TV, radio and other media outlets - and to be honest anyone else who will listen - of the desperate and urgent need for humanitarian aid and assistance in and around Kharkiv.

"In the last few days we have had meetings at Holyrood in Edinburgh and The House of Commons and House of Lords in Westminster. We have met with officials from Transport for London and the Greater London Authority and about a dozen other organisations in relation to the London ULEZ scrappage scheme sending vehicles to Ukraine.

"And rest assured while all that is going on, here in Swindon aid will continue to pour in and trucks, vans and other vehicles will be loaded and sent on their way to Ukraine."

Lina Liashenko, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian delegation, said: "I want to thank all of you in Swindon for continuing to help us in Kharkiv. It helps to know that we are not alone. And it shows that we are as strong as we are united."

This week the delegation will visit the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff, the city of Leeds and many other charities and organisations focussed on Ukraine.

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