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Nottingham builder sends aid convoy to Ukraine refugees

Nottingham builder sends aid convoy to Ukraine refugees

Atomic Developments is going the extra mile – or 1,250 extra miles to be more precise – to take much-needed aid to refugees fleeing from war-torn Ukraine.

The Nottingham-based firm’s owner and director John Granger said he couldn’t continue to watch the shocking news footage of human hardship following Russia’s invasion without wanting to help.

But instead of just donating cash, he recruited assistance from his staff to research the best way of collecting material aid and delivering it direct to those who urgently needed it.

Within 24 hours of announcing his mission to drive 1,250 miles to an aid drop-off point in Poland, he was inundated with offers of cash, sleeping bags, thermal blankets, nappies, dried foods, sanitary products and medical supplies to take with him.

On Friday morning (March 11), he and seven others will take turns in driving four Vauxhall Vivaro work vans, stacked to the gunnels with essential aid, through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany to reach their destination in Lublin, Poland, less than 100km from the Ukrainian border.  

The convoy is expected to arrive at its destination, a centre run by Caritas, a Polish aid organisation similar to Red Cross, on Saturday morning. The team will stay overnight at accommodation owned by one of John’s employees, Polish-born painter Pawel Lewaneowski, before beginning the 22-hour journey back to the UK on Sunday.

John (48) said:

“I always watch the news and I was watching more and more scenes of the terrible atrocities in the Ukraine. 

“It’s easy to flick over the channels and ignore it, or just send cash, but I wanted to do something real, something more personal to me, and make sure those poor people actually got what they needed.”

With the invaluable help of his general manager Nicole Giles, and another Polish employee, office administrator Joanna Philbin, John was quickly able to sort all logistics, from routes and customs paperwork to accommodation and ferry bookings.

“It was a real joint effort and I’m so grateful to my staff and to all those family, friends, companies and other organisations who came forward with so many offers of aid,” said John. “We’ve been absolutely inundated.”

Donations have come from a huge variety of sources, including Tesco, Auction Estates in Nottingham, property agents FHP, Capatex Ltd, Incontinence Shop in Bolton and even the James Peacock Infant and Nursery School in Ruddington 

John, a busy father-of-two, who launched his rapidly expanding building and renovation business in 2011, added:

“None of us should stand by and watch what is happening in Ukraine. While other recent wars and humanitarian crises, such as in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan, may have seemed like a million miles away, this one is right on our doorstep. I could not forgive myself if I didn’t play my part in helping out.”

Any new donations must be delivered to Atomic’s headquarters in Regent Street, Nottingham, by noon on Thursday, March 10. 

For further information, contact or phone 0115 9582185.   

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