Refugee aid hub in Perthshire sees 100 tons leave for Poland

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Over 100 tonnes of food, clothes, baby and medical equipment passed out of a hub in Errol, Perthshire into lorries bound for Poland.

But more food is urgently needed and it is time again to consider what locals can spare for Ukrainians in need.

Ex-military man Kenneth Simpson, from Tayside and Strathearn Help for Ukraine (TASH4Ukraine), has been co-ordinating the phenomenal volume of aid donations from the people of Perth and Kinross.

The group estimates well over £300,000 worth of vital aid has gone directly to the Polish/Ukrainian border within the first three weeks of the invasion.

Kenny told the PA that residents had done their region proud with their response to the first request for items put out nearly a month ago.

“Five HGV lorries and three vans have gone to Poland loaded with donations from Perthshire,” he confirmed.

His lorry weighbridge at the Morris Leslie site in Errol recorded the weight of each pallet shrink-wrapped for transit.

And more than 100 tonnes had been loaded and sent.



Loading up a lorry bound for Poland.  Over 100 tons of aid for people fleeing conflict in Ukraine has already gone
Loading up a lorry bound for Poland. Over 100 tons of aid for people fleeing conflict in Ukraine has already gone

Kenny estimated the same weight again was ready to go to contacts in Poland who are assisting huge numbers of refugees pouring across the border to safety.

Perth Polish Scouts ZHP (the regional commission of Polish Scouting Association, Perth Units) put out the original appeal on the third day of the crisis in Ukraine.

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A person who has been at the center of gathering aid and sorting it into separate zones to be sitting together is Kasia Guzowska of the Perth Polish community.

The receptionist at a Perth GP surgery has dedicated her time to the task since the beginning of March. Kasia will soon be returning to work having selflessly used her holiday allowance to devote herself to assisting the aid effort.

Kasia said: “I had huge help since day one from our admin assistants Paulina Rybicka and Kasia Dlugolecka. All of us are Scouts/ Cubs and Brownies leaders in Polish Scouting Association.

“And in Edinburgh, fixing transport logistics, Ula Sagalara.

“While I was in Errol, these great friends have been working behind the scenes.”



Morris Leslie, Errol site owner, Polish Scout leader Kasia Dlugolecka (centre) and her daughter Hania (right) helping with sorting aid for Ukraine given by people in Perthshire
Morris Leslie, Errol site owner, Polish Scout leader Kasia Dlugolecka (centre) and her daughter Hania (right) helping with sorting aid for Ukraine given by people in Perthshire

So much came in during the first four days of their appeal for aid that after that they had to ask people to hang fire and briefly hold on to the thousands of items collected in homes across the county.

Collection drop-off at Polish shops in Perth, at the ZPH scout’s warehouse in Jeanfield Road at Culture PK Libraries and some town halls were paused while volunteers in Errol hastily set up a system to handle the mountain of goods already donated. It has been four weeks yesterday since the condemned Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

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Cots and strollers form a mountain in the warehouse, just some of the items given to T&SHU for the mums and children of Ukraine
Cots and strollers form a mountain in the warehouse, just some of the items given to T&SHU for the mums and children of Ukraine

Kenny in the Morris Leslie car auction warehouse in Errol said the team were ready to “take the pause button off” and again receive donations.

“They are now running out of food at our depot in Poland,” he told the PA.

“We want to get the message out that once again we need people to donate and we now have a very effective system in place here in Errol, so we want items to start coming in again.”

On the Tayside and Strathearn Help for Ukraine Facebook site a new message has just gone up: “Food needed Urgently.

“Your generosity has already been amazing but please do see if you can dig deep again and find any of the following to donate and drop off at any of the new locations listed on our website or below: baby jars and pouches, canned food, canned soup, sugar, salt, rice, dried pasta, dried food, tea and coffee, Pot Noodles.

“We now have more drop-off points in Perth, Dunning, Invergowrie, Crieff, Blairgowrie and of course at the Errol Airfield.”

“Our big news is an ambulance was generously donated to us by Knockhill Races, stocked and ready to be driven to Poland.

“This is a phenomenally valuable gift from Knockhill.”

The life-saving vehicle is making the trip from Scotland to London, then to the city of Przemysl in Poland right on the border with Ukraine, where a Polish charitable foundation, similar to the St John Ambulance, called the Foundation of the Order of St Stanislaus will put it to use helping casualties of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Kenny also sent thanks to the incredible members of the local business community who have given their assistance.

“Highland Fayre in Perth sent us loads of food. Then there were practical things that were a massive help – Tesco and Booker sent us their flattened cardboard boxes. Keepsafe Storage gave us boxes. Simon Howie gave us the plastic sheeting to wrap pallets. Andrew Gray on the Shore Road provided dozens of one tonne bags that could be lifted by forklifts. Danscott provided all the tape we could use to pack up parcels.”

Kenny added: “Enterprise and Stuans have slow vans. Laura McCallun of LDM Vans in Perth’s Arran Road has provided small vans since the beginning and ferried loads to us here in Errol.



Laura McCallum's company LCM Vans in Arran Road was a big assistance ferrying donations to Errol
Laura McCallum’s company LCM Vans in Arran Road was a big assistance ferrying donations to Errol

“Laura’s been really amazing, offering her premises as a donation drop-off point when storage in Perth was all full up.”

And gifts have come from further afield. Five pallets of biscuits were sent this week from Arran Ltd in Livingstone. Mackay’s of Forfar sent two pallets packed with their jam and oatcakes.

Kenny told how of all the politicians to visit the operation in Errol, the provost of Perth and Kinross Dennis Melloy had been by far the best sport.

“Dennis came and didn’t just look, he got stuck in and helped unload a whole van stuffed with bags of donations. He was an enormous help.”

For more information go to https://tash4ukraine.weebly.com/



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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