Humbled by community’s response to Ukraine invasion

Office building lit up with blue and yellow LED lights

Bracknell Forest Council is once again humbled and touched by the compassion of the local community in trying to help people affected by the invasion of Ukraine.

Over the past week we have seen so many of our residents, community groups and organisations rally to help people affected by the invasion. The response has been nothing short of inspiring.

The council has offered support to local Ukrainian residents, this offer of support will remain open indefinitely as the invasion continues. Additionally, we are working with the local voluntary and charitable organisations, including involve Community Services to offer support.

We have also been lighting up our Time Square office in blue and yellow in support of Ukraine and to show solidarity.

While Bracknell Forest Council firmly stands with Ukraine and sends its sympathies and thoughts to those affected, it also stands firmly against any isolation, harassment or victimisation of local Russian people who have no control over recent events.

We have a long history of excellent community cohesion in the borough, and we are thankful and proud that our residents have again offered all those affected by this terrible invasion their support and compassion.

We know that many residents will want to kindly offer donations of physical items to people affected; we would ask that people consider the logistics of getting these items to people in Ukraine and Poland before committing to collecting/donating such items.

The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator has urged the public to ‘give safely’ to registered charities as these charities can ensure essential items reach those who need it. Established charities with experience of responding to disasters are usually best placed to reach victims on the ground.

Instead of donating physical items, residents may wish to make a financial contribution to aid agencies:

Anyone who does set up a charitable collection that isn’t linked to a registered charity, should be aware of the ongoing responsibilities associated with overseeing and managing funds and ensuring they are applied in line with donors’ wishes. You can find out more from The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator.

Cllr Paul Bettison OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said:

“Bracknell Forest firmly stands with Ukraine and once again our local community has shown it will quickly rally to help those who need our support. I’m humbled and touched by how our community has shown such great compassion to everyone affected.

“I know residents wish to help in whatever way they can and there are many ways to offer support locally and nationally. Please make sure that before you donate, you are offering your support to a legitimate charity or organisation that can get these much-needed supplies to the people who need it. There are many risks and difficulties involved in transporting physical donations to eastern Europe; donating to a well-established aid agency is the most effective way of getting support to those who need it as soon as possible.

 “As a council, we are doing all we can to offer support to affected residents and are working with local voluntary groups.

 “Additionally, we have a long and proud history of being compassionate and inclusive and are ready to offer assistance to refugees.”

Philip Bell, Chief Executive Officer of involve Community Services, said: 

"We are truly inspired by the way in which the people of Bracknell Forest have come together and taken decisive action to support this humanitarian crisis.  Like Cllr Bettison, we are keen to promote that practical items or financial donations are gifted via a legitimate source so to ensure that they reach the people of Ukraine. Should you need any guidance in this respect, please do reach out to us."