Huge cross-community effort for Ukraine praised by Derry & Strabane Alderman

A Derry & Strabane Alderman involved in organising aid for Ukraine has thanked all those who contributed to dispatching the first lorry load of aid from Foyle YMCA.

UUP Alderman Ryan McCready praised the “mammoth cross-community effort”.

The first lorry load of aid from Foyle left from Derry for Ukraine on Saturday afternoon.

“I want to thank absolutely everybody who contributed – individuals, businesses, schools and many, many others. It was a herculean effort,” Ald. McCready said.

People packing boxes at the YMCA over recent days.

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“Having trained and worked with so many members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, I found myself needing to stand up and serve again. I wanted to be in a position to help the needs of my brothers and sisters in Ukraine. I put a plan together with my team that we would set up collection points around the City of Londonderry and encourage the public to donate essential items for those fleeing the conflict.

“The YMCA were fantastic in helping us and becoming an integral part of the plan, not only giving us a room but also now letting us have the hall too.

“We then contacted DA Miller & Sons (Transport) Ltd in Claudy who are a family run logistics company. Straight away they accepted the challenge and provided a driver, a 40ft lorry and would take care of the complete journey once the lorry was loaded - absolute heroes. W&J Chambers of Drumahoe supplied one tonne bags and even more generously fuelled the lorry for the journey to Poland.

“CFC Interiors in Londonderry have also been great in liaising with the other collection points from around the city such as other political offices to be delivered to the YMCA and be loaded onto our lorry too.

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UUP Alderman Ryan McCready.

“I am completely overwhelmed with how the whole country has pulled together over the last week, from all communities, offering services or help. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we work together. I would like to thank my team, council colleagues, volunteers, YMCA, DA Miller & Sons (Transport) Ltd, WJ Chambers, MLAs and the biggest stars who donated.”

Joe Barber, manager of CFC Interiors told the Journal last week: “This is a community effort and every community in the North West has come together as one to get involved. We’ve had schools, churches, community groups, we’ve had everyone here. The cars have just not stopped coming in. It would get to you to see everyone coming together.

“Everyone is supporting us and everyone is behind us. They all understand where this is going and that we have to get this done and get it right.”

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Ryan McCready said the huge effort from everyone showed that ‘when we work together, the plan comes together’.

Volunteer Annie Heading, of the McGinnis Group, with Joe Barber and Michelle from CFC Interiors working through all the donations given for Ukrainian refugees.

He also advised: “We are now in the process of arranging a second lorry and are asking people to hold their donations until called forward next week.”