New charity created in Norwich to tackle Ukrainian refugee crisis

Norfolk Polonia CIC are creating a new charity with the help of local representatives to help the Ukraine crisis.

Norfolk Polonia CIC are creating a new charity with the help of local representatives to help with the Ukraine crisis. - Credit: Submitted

A new charity is being set up in Norwich to support victims of the war in Ukraine.

Norfolk Polonia CIC, an organisation which helps immigrants from EU countries living in the East of England, is setting up a charity, with the help of city businesses and shareholders.

Dorota Darnell, co-founder of Norfolk Polonia CIC, has been networking with the local city businesses and representatives.

Dorota Darnell, co-founder of Norfolk Polonia CIC, has been networking with the local city businesses and representatives. - Credit: Dorota Darnell

The West Earlham-based group held a meeting with local representatives on Saturday about how they can help the ever expanding number of refugees fleeing the war.

Dorota Darnell, co-founder of Norfolk Polonia CIC, said: "We had already organised some collections at the West Earlham community centre and began to hear from a couple of companies who wanted to help as well.

"Before I knew it we were speaking to lots of different companies who wanted to help - whether it be storage of supplies to transporting them for us.

Members of the Polish Community (Norwich Polonia) are collecting donations and offering homes to Ukr

Members of the Polish Community (Norwich Polonia) are collecting donations and offering homes to Ukranians. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"All of a sudden it snowballed into this amazing initiative today."

Ms Darnell sat down with representatives from West Earlham Fire Service, The UK Waltons Ltd, QD and local surgery and storage companies - who all came together to form the new charity.

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She said: "We knew that the Norwich community wanted to help but with lots of collections happening it's difficult to know where to send donations and be safe in the knowledge they're going to where they're needed.

Members of the Polish Community (Norwich Polonia) are collecting donations and offering homes to Ukr

Members of the Polish Community (Norwich Polonia) are collecting donations and offering homes to Ukranians. Mia, Eugenia Kozlowska (Ukranian) and Bartosz. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"So collectively, we thought it would be better to set up a separate charity to make things clearer for people wanting to donate aid."

With the help of everyone involved, Norfolk Polonia will be looking to send aid to the Polish border.

A representative from The UK Waltons Ltd who attended the meeting said: "We're so glad to be joining a rapidly growing organisation that is doing so much to help.

"We have donated a house, free of charge, to a refugee family in order to try and help."

Members of the Polish Community (Norwich Polonia) are collecting donations and offering homes to Ukr

Members of the Polish Community (Norwich Polonia) are collecting donations and offering homes to Ukranians. L-R Bartosz, Eugenia Kozlowska, Dorota Darnell (Director Norfolk Polonia CIC), Zaneta Gruca, Leyla Gruca, Zhanna Sobczak, Akira Gruca. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ola Hardbattle, a volunteer at Norfolk Polonia CIC, said: "It's amazing how this project from a small group of people wanting to help - to an organised force holding a meeting to discuss its next steps.

"I feel incredibly honoured to be part of the operation."

Ms Darnell and the board need a name for the new charity and have said people can send their ideas for what to name it to either the Norfolk Polonia CIC website or their Facebook page, of the same name.

Members of the Polish Community (Norwich Polonia) are collecting donations and offering homes to Ukr

Members of the Polish Community (Norwich Polonia) are collecting donations and offering homes to Ukranians. Zhanna Sobczak (Ukrainian project coordinator). Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Norfolk Polonia CIC volunteers helping send donations to Ukrainian refugees.

Norfolk Polonia CIC volunteers helping send donations to Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Dorota Darnell

Ola Hardbattle, a volunteer at Norfolk Polonia CIC, pictured here at one of their storage containers.

Ola Hardbattle, a volunteer at Norfolk Polonia CIC, pictured here at one of their storage containers. - Credit: Submitted