'Incredible' response hailed as businesses unite for Ukraine

Volunteers turn out in support of The Fill an Artic in a Week Campaign in Great Yarmouth.

Volunteers turn out in support of The Fill an Artic in a Week Campaign in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Mandalay Wellbeing CIC

Dozens of volunteers have turned out in Great Yarmouth to help the people of Ukraine by filling a lorry full of much-needed donations.

The Fill an Artic in a Week Campaign has seen businesses across Great Yarmouth band together to fill a 44-tonne truck with supplies to take to refugees displaced by the war in Ukraine.

Volunteers turn out to back The Fill an Artic in a Week Campaign in Great Yarmouth.

Volunteers form a human chain to fill the lorry - Credit: Mandalay Wellbeing CIC

With the Priory Centre hosting the Ukrainian aid drop-off hub for donations, volunteers lined up in a special chain to load up a 16.5m-long lorry - provided by Carl of CJC Transport Consultants Ltd and PC Thorold's Fresh Produce - on Saturday morning from 8am.

The Fill an Artic in a Week campaign has been led by Mandalay Wellbeing CIC and The Priory Centre,  and their vow to fill the truck with supplies and vital equipment was achieved.

And thanks to the efforts of volunteers and the co-operation between businesses, 1,000 boxes containing food, clothing, hygiene products and other essential items were loaded onto the truck before it headed to Poland.

Trevor Saunders, manager of the Mandalay Wellbeing CIC foodbank, said: "It was amazing, it really was.

Volunteers turn out to back The Fill an Artic in a Week Campaign in Great Yarmouth.

The army of volunteers that filled the lorry - Credit: Mandalay Wellbeing CIC

"There were so many volunteers that turned up - there must have been 50 to 60 people there at 8am on Saturday.

"We absolutely nailed it in terms of getting 1,000 boxes packed away and loaded onto the artic.


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"It was incredible."

Volunteers turn out to back The Fill an Artic in a Week Campaign in Great Yarmouth.

Volunteers turn out to back The Fill an Artic in a Week Campaign in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Mandalay Wellbeing CIC

Mr Saunders hailed the response as "Great Yarmouth came together" in support of Ukraine.

"I've never seen so many people come together to help others like Saturday - everyone was just behind Ukraine," he said.

"We had three Ukrainian ladies there on Saturday and they all said it was amazing what we'd done.

"People were turning up just to help - I was overwhelmed by the response.

Volunteers turn out in support of The Fill an Artic in a Week Campaign in Great Yarmouth

The volunteers were praised for their efforts in helping the people of Ukraine - Credit: Mandalay Wellbeing CIC

"Everyone came together, the mayor was fantastic helping load boxes in all his regalia.

"We boxed everything up, put labels on everything and these were translated into Ukrainian for the people at the other end to unload.

Volunteers turn out in support of The Fill an Artic in a Week Campaign in Great Yarmouth.

The lorry soon filled up with donations - Credit: Mandalay Wellbeing CIC

"I have been stunned by the response and grateful to everyone.

"This really put the 'Great' in Great Yarmouth."

By Saturday teatime the lorry had arrived at France before heading to Belgium and into Germany, before continuing its journey to Poland - eventually arriving on Sunday evening.

Visit the Mandalay Wellbeing Facebook page and the Local Giving website to pledge support.