Amid the images of disaster, we see therise of human spirit | Simon Hoare MP

As we watch the atrocities being committed in Ukraine, Simon Hoare MP praises the communities who have risen up in swift action to provide help – and urges us all to continue to ‘do our bit’ where we can.

While Spring creeps into life the situation in and around Ukraine resembles deepest winter. Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are living through the hell of war, amid scenes and images which we had all hoped were
consigned to the European history books.

The best of us
While Russia is showing us the worst of mankind, and of man’s inhumanity to man, across North Dorset we are seeing the best.
Our DNA-embedded spirit of wanting to do all we can to help has risen to the fore. I cannot tell you how genuinely moved and inspired I was by the veritable army of volunteers I was privileged to go and help (albeit for a few hours) at The Exchange at Sturminster, and to see similar hives of activity at Shaftesbury’s Guildhall and Blandford’s Ginger Viking.
A continuous stream of members of the public, motivated not by instruction but by a spontaneous desire to ‘do something’, bringing literally tonnes of food, clothing, blankets, toiletries and toys. Some came with a
car full, others a carrier bag; it was clear that all were doing everything they could to help. Then there were the rooms of people sorting, packing and boxing up.
Still others in a human crocodile loading vans for dispatch to Southampton and the port. Each and every one is a hero. They were and are the best of us.

A magnificent spirit
Local businesses too have been marvellous. I don’t know all of those who helped but a shout out to Dikes of Stalbridge, Johnsons of Gillingham, Virginia Heywood at Shaftesbury and Gillingham’s South West Packing for either donating goods or that elusive and much-needed commodity, the cardboard box.
Thank you too to Dorset Council for allowing the use of the chapel at St Mary’s School for storage purposes, and of course thank you to Ginger Viking and the Exchange for allowing their premises to be used as donation hubs. You’ve all been magnificent.

So – what can be done now?
As your MP I continue to press Ministers to be swift and flexible with the refugee resettlement process, and
for the Home Office to be far more fleet of foot than it has demonstrated hitherto. We are dealing with a wartime situation and our processes and policies, designed for peacetime, need to reflect that dynamic shift. Whatever can be afforded – be it £1 or £100 – I would urge you to make a donation to the DEC
fund www.dec.org.uk.

Can you offer housing?
Also, please consider registering on this website for the housing scheme www.homesforukraine.campaign. gov.uk.
You might have a spare room, granny flat or a holiday-let. Please do register your interest on this site. If we can do our bit then we should. If we all try to ask ourselves the question ‘if we were in their position, what would we want others to do for us?’ I don’t think we will go far wrong.

by Simon Hoare MP

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