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During August, our Logistics Manager, Mrs German, arranged for the nine-seater school car to be loaned to a charity who have been working to provide aid for Ukraine and to bring refugees back to the UK. 

Set up by a group of friends (from Oxford and Penrith) Eden Aid brings back some of the most vulnerable refugees who cannot fly, from the Ukraine/Polish border to their host families across Europe and the UK. The refugees might be old, sick, have a disability, be very pregnant, have pets and/or several young children, or have a terrible fear of flying. The outward journey is used to deliver medical supplies and other essentials to Poland for onward travel into Ukraine. 

In the six months since it was set up, Eden Aid has: 

  • Raised £265,000, including £43,000 of free minibus rentals lent by schools and friends of Eden Aid founders
  • Completed 24 trips with 81 vehicles that have driven over 183,000 miles over the past 21 weeks 
  • Delivered 238 pallets of medical supplies, hygiene and sanitary products, and food with an approx. value of £278,000 
  • Brought back 524 displaced Ukrainians to host families in the UK, plus 156 who came across on 4 buses with Coaches2Ukraine which has now merged their operations into Eden Aid 
  • Moved a further 102 displaced Ukrainians across Europe 
  • Brought 99 beloved pets (42 cats, 56 dogs and a guinea pig) back with their owners. 

A voluntary organisation, Eden Aid is entirely reliant on donations to keep this mission going, not only via monetary donations to help fund the running costs of the trip, but by organisations lending or sponsoring nine-seater minibuses, which is the largest vehicle they are allowed to drive in Europe.  It is extremely tough given the plethora of the many great charities out there competing for funds.  But sadly, the war in Ukraine is ongoing, and it is still very, very, real, with thousands of displaced Ukrainians desperately needing support. Just £300 will get one Ukrainian to a safe home.

Each five-day trip costs £2,000 - £2,500 (for fuel, vehicle hire, channel crossings, hotels, food etc) and so the donation from many schools of a free vehicle for any amount of time is always appreciated.  

St Mary’s Calne and St Margaret’s Prep will continue to support Eden Aid by loaning the school car during the longer school holidays for as long as it is needed, and in fact it will be used over the October Half Term, but financial support is also necessary. They are now partnered with the International Refugee Trust (IRT) so that Gift Aid can be secured from all the money raised from UK taxpayers, so if you feel you might be able to support the charity, please visit their website https://www.edenaid.org/ and select the 'Donate Now button.

A quote from Troels Henriksen, a Co-Founder of Eden Aid:

'It’s been very humbling and hugely emotional helping these amazing people. They are just like you and I, except for ... what they’ve gone through. No men, just women and children, ripped from their homes, leaving behind their sons, dads, husbands. Carrying often not more than a borrowed suitcase - all that is left from their past life.  

Sasha from Bucha whose car was shot at as they escaped, her mum suffering 9 bullet wounds. Lera with a two-month-old baby Sophia whose house was bombed to the ground. Olena, with 5 children between 3 and 14, who have never been out of their little village in Ukraine, and now are in a hostel in Warsaw. Lidia from Mariupol, who was deported to Russia, travelled out with volunteers and has nothing to return to and nothing left...you get the picture. 

There is a continuous stream of refugees coming – for many reasons but in particular: 

  • People coming out of the East, Kharkiv, Mariupol etc., are finally making it to the West and securing Visas for the UK; 
  • The pet licensing system is starting to resolve itself and licenses are now being received – the only way to get into the UK with a pet is in a vehicle … you can’t fly, take the train, or go on a ferry as a walk-on passenger; and 
  • Many that originally stayed behind are now realising the war is far from over and so are now deciding to leave – with Kyiv coming under attack again after many weeks this will undoubtedly trigger a new surge. 

Thank you so much for your support.'


Slideshow Photos:
Setting off from the UK in convoy, loaded with boxes of dried food and health and hygiene products.
Some very grateful refugees preparing for the long journey back to the UK in early August.
A different group of refugees at a pit stop in France towards the end of August.