Firefighters help Newcastle Polish Centre with Ukraine relief efforts

TWFRS firefighters helping to load up the relief lorry.

Firefighters from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have stoutly answered an urgent call from the local community to help with relief efforts being channelled from Tyneside to war-torn areas of Ukraine.

Earlier today Wednesday 9th March firefighters from Newcastle Central Community Fire Station arrived just after 7am at Newcastle’s Polish Centre on Maple Terrace in the City to help other volunteers load essential donated items on to relief trucks bound for their Eastern Europe destination.

The items include first aid kits, masks, tinned and dried food, clothing, sleeping bags, shoes, baby products and toiletries.

Once the trucks were loaded up the transported goods were taken to a temporary storage base in Seaton Delaval, where they will later be distributed to their final destination point in Ukraine.

Firefighters from Tynemouth Community Fire Station were also on-hand in Seaton Delaval to assist with the receipt of the items once they arrived from Newcastle’s Polish Centre.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Peter Heath of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said:

“This is a moving example of how solidarity and community spirit being shown here in Tyne and Wear can help people in need nearly three thousand miles away in the Ukraine.

“We are proud of our firefighters and fire control staff who have assisted the community call for action, which represents our commitment for not only helping to keep people safe from harm in the North East but to also show empathy to other people who may require our assistance in other parts of the world.

“It’s a small part we have played in the overall scheme of the efforts to support people in Ukraine. But all of these small gestures and acts of kindness will hopefully provide some relief and hope to those suffering – showing that people care and are thinking about them.”

The initial call was received by TWFRS’s Fire Control team just after 6pm on Tuesday evening (8th March) by a representative from Newcastle’s Polish Centre – who are co-ordinating the community relief efforts.

They asked if there was any opportunity that firefighters in the area could help with the loading and unloading operation of the donated items.

TWFRS firefighter helping to unload the donated items.

Mariusz Biziewski, a representative from Newcastle’s Polish Centre, said:

“The response from the Fire Service and the local community has been amazing and beyond our wildest expectations.  Without the help of the firefighters we couldn’t have moved a fraction of the items that we have done today.

“It has been overwhelming.  In total we’ve transported about four lorry loads of materials weighing approximately 100-tonnes.  They will be greatly received by the people of Ukraine.  The urgent supplies are to be dispatched to residents who are seeking refuge in Poland, and also to communities in Ukraine itself.”

Over twenty firefighters from Newcastle Central and Tynemouth Community Fire Stations assisted with the relief operation, across various drop offs, morning and afternoon.

Over the coming days the donated items will be driven by volunteers to the Polish border and then reloaded on to Ukrainian trucks and lorries for distribution to the local communities.

TWFRS will continue to assist with the Newcastle Polish Centre’s donation appeal whenever possible.