Medical bus kitted out by Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership on its way to Ukraine

By Barrie Hudson - 11 July 2023

  • The buses and 4x4

    The buses and 4x4

A team from Swindon? Humanitarian Aid Partnership has sent its latest aid for beleaguered Ukraine.

  • The interior of the medical bus with volunteers including SHAP chair Mike Bowden, second from right

    The interior of the medical bus with volunteers including SHAP chair Mike Bowden, second from right

A small team from SHAP drove three vehicles including a single-decker bus converted into a mobile medical centre to Calais and a meeting with Ukrainian friends and colleagues.

The bus, along with a bendy bus and a Nissan 4x4 then headed across Europe toward Ukraine.

It is only the latest help sent by SHAP, which was formed shortly after the Russian invasion.

SHAP chair Mike Bowden said: "When the Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February last year a number of us in Swindon watched the BBC news in horror and decided that sitting on our backsides and doing nothing was not an option.  

"Within a few weeks The Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership (SHAP) was born and some 17 months on we have collected sorted boxed and delivered over 950 tonnes of aid into Eastern Ukraine where the impact of war is at is worst.  

"In terms of efficiency the delivery of those 950 tonnes has cost SHAP a total of just £15,750 - very good value for money."  

The SHAP board is made up of five Ukrainians and four Britons, and is helped by local Ukrainian, British and Polish volunteers.

In addition to sending aid, SHAP supports the growing number of Ukrainian visitors to Swindon with housing, school and university places, benefit applications and general understanding of the systems and processes in the UK. 

Over Christmas, SHAP's Candles for Ukraine campaign attracted national attention, with donated candles converted into alternative sources of heat and light for Ukrainian people in communities ravaged by bombing.

There are plans to convert more buses, including as further medical facilities and a story bus full of toys and books to bring fun to Ukrainian children whose lives have been blighted by the unlawful actions of Moscow.

Mr Bowden added: "The one issue that holds us back and constrains our work is a lack of funding.  We are not allowed to even apply for money from the UK Government's  Disaster Emergency Committee Fund - which receives substantial donations from the the British public and British businesses - as we are not one of 'the big ten'.  

"This seems to unfairly  penalise small efficient organisations such as SHAP."

SHAP welcomes donations and has its own bank account:


The Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership 

Lloyds Bank -Old Town Swindon 

UK Bank Sort Code - 30-98-97 

Account Number -74254962 


Mr Bowden said: "Sadly, our bank balance currently stands at a paltry £2000. 

"Our enthusiasm, determination and commitment are our greatest strength and we will continue our work for as long as it is needed." 



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