School overwhelmed after “phenomenal” response of community to Ukraine appeal

Ribbon Academy headteacher Ashleigh Sheridan has been “overwhelmed” at the “phonomenal” response of pupils, parents and the wider community to the school’s appeal to support refugees fleeing war-torn Ukraine.

By Neil Fatkin
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 1:19 pm

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The latest figures from the United Nations suggests almost three million people have fled their besieged homeland three weeks after Russian forces invaded, with around 1.9 million refugees now seeking sanctuary in Poland.

After seeing the conflict unfold, the Murton based school sent a message to parents as well submitting a post on their Facebook page asking for donations of toiletries, over-the-counter medication, nappies, camping equipment and warm clothing.

One week on from the appeal, the school have already donated enough items to fill their two minibuses and are now collecting items for a further delivery.

Pupils Sebastian Davey, 10, Izabella Wiseman, 11, Amelia Rogerson, 11, and Eden Bleek, 11, with headteacher Ashleigh Sheridan and some of the donated items.

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Mrs Sheridan said: “We all wanted to do something but we just didn’t know what. We’ve all seen the press coverage and had that feeling that this could be me or you. Our supply teaching agency, AK Teaching, informed us they were working in conjunction with the Geek Retreat cafe in Sunderland as a donation point.

"We put out a message asking for donations and the response has been absolutely phenomenal.”

While pupils’ families were quick to donate, Mrs Sheridan has been left “overwhelmed” at the response from the whole community.

Some of the hundreds of items donated by the local community to help the people of Ukraine.

She said: “I think it was the bombing of the maternity hospital which really captured people’s emotions and we’ve been inundated with donations. Local residents have been coming down, St Joseph’s Church have collected and donated items, as have the local care home, Church View.

“Morrisons and Co-op in the village both donated items and St Godric’s school in Durham also donated goods. St Joseph’s Primary School in Murton also raised £1,000 to purchase items which they donated to our appeal.

"It has been a real community effort.”

Pupils at the school formed a human conveyor belt to load “over 1,000 items” onto the two minibuses with further items now having been donated to the school.

Year 6 pupil, Sebastian Davey, 10, said: “It’s been a really big response, but if we had been in Ukraine it would have been us. It’s important to help as if we were in their situation we would want them to help us.

"Most people left their homes with very little and so these items will be a big help.”

Izabella Wiseman, 10, added: “I brought in nappies, blankets and warm clothing. I feel really sad about what’s happening out there. They’ve been bombing schools and it really makes you think that if we were in Ukraine that would have been us.”

The initial two minibuses of donations have been transferred to the Polish Parish Church in Newcastle who have arranged for the items to be transported to families in need close to the Ukrainian border.

Year 6 pupil Eden Bleek, 11, said: “The whole situation just makes you feel really sad as lots of people are dying. I just wanted to do something to help. My message to Putin would be to stop bombing Ukraine.”

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