Generous Cumbrians have answered a call to help Ukrainian refugees by donating to a fund which supports those fleeing the war-torn country.
Cumbria Community Foundation has been inviting people to donate to its Welcome Fund, which is intended to support refugees and asylum seekers living in Cumbria.
In March the foundation invited Cumbrians to contribute to the fund following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A steady flow of individual donations, as well as from community organisations, have seen the total value of the fund rise to over £36,000 in the last month.
Among those who have donated is Crosby Community Centre, near Maryport, which raised £611 from an Easter fair this month.
Alice Oglanby, committee member for the community centre, said the funds raised would normally go towards general upkeep of the village hall and church.
“There’s so much trouble going on in Ukraine and you see it every day on the television so I thought it would be a nice idea to raise funds for them this year,” said Alice.
“The Welcome Fund is a really good idea because it’s local funds, raised by local people and it goes to benefit the Ukrainian refugees coming to Cumbria.”
In addition, the Kendal Midday Concert Club raised £1260 at a special performance by The English Concert orchestra held at Kendal Town Hall.
Club vice-chairman David Smethurst said the orchestra played a selection of pieces, which included the Ukrainian national anthem.
“One thing which really caught our imagination was when they played Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, which is a cri de coeur from Jesus’ mother when he’s on the cross,” said David.
“It’s a wonderful piece of music and we just thought that was the right vehicle to express how sad people are and yet how we hope for the future.”
In Workington, county councillor Debbie Garton organised a chocolate tombola and raffle in the town’s library, which raised £515 on April 6.
“I just thought I would love to be able to do something to help the Ukrainians when they arrive here,” said Debbie.
“It was a great day, the donations were amazing and the library did a great job of putting it together.
Cumbria Community Foundation established the Welcome Fund in 2017 at the request of Cumbria’s Strategic Refugee Group to support refugees or asylum seekers.
It provides a single point for collection of donations from individuals, families, businesses, charitable trusts and other organisations wishing to support refugees and asylum seekers.
Funds raised will be used for hardship grants and to support refugees and asylum seekers to integrate into the communities of Cumbria.
Andy Beeforth, chief executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “It’s been really touching and heartening to see the generous response from Cumbrian people and communities who want to support Ukrainian refugees coming to the county.
“We know there is a huge groundswell and feeling for Ukraine right now and we hope the Welcome Fund will continue to be a way for people to do what they can to help.”
If you would like to support the Welcome Fund you can donate here.