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Beyond Charity

A community that cares

Ukrainian flag flying above Hospital Lane, Portchester, UK
Ukrainian flag flies above Hospital Lane, Portchester UK (source: Author)

This is beyond normal charity — reaching way beyond everyday giving, loose change in the Christian Aid envelope, purchasing poppies, red noses or some annual flag day. There is a far deeper response here.

First, you’ll notice the flags. Few of us have a handy set of country flags ready to unfurl at a moment’s notice. But Ukraine’s is easy to stitch even if the sewing machine has not been used for years. Flag waving around here is normally reserved for St George, English football teams, or funerals with maritime Defence overtones. Centuries of naval service is evidenced by a fair few flagpoles around Portchester.

Then there’s noticeable noise in the normally hushed tones of the library. Countless people not taking out books but bringing in their contributions for refugees. The response was not just overwhelming for the library. The hub at Jacob’s Well charity has been inundated to the extent that further collections have been called off. The lorry loads now well on their way to Poland and Moldova will be sure to bring a smile to beleaguered mothers on their altogether uncalled for journeys into the unknown. Who would have guessed that Portchester people could contribute so much paracetamol and pasta, sleeping bags, blankets, beans, knickers and nappies — the list goes on.

And then there’s the willingness to open homes — even if the Home Office seem unable to open their hearts. It’ll be a minor miracle if any of these displaced Ukrainian souls finally arrive in Portchester at the end of the paperwork trail — but if/when they triumph, they’ll be more than welcome, and our local children will have a great opportunity to learn afresh how brilliant it is to be part of the wider European family.

Mass displacements on account of Russia’s devastating tantrums will be repeated over and again — if not on account of wars, then certainly from climate disasters. The current crisis is another timely reminder that we must all learn to stop abusing life and live in harmony with our neighbours.


This article was first published by Portchester Liberal Democrats as Bruno’s Blog. It is included on the Groupe Intellex list for ‘Portchester — the place I call home’.



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