Ukraine: How UK contractors are helping the relief effort

Construction companies across the UK are doing their part to support Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion.

More than three million people have reportedly fled Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his assault on the country on February 24.

As it prepares for the economic fallout from the war, the British construction industry is also trying to lend a helping hand to those who need it most.

Ferrovial Construction UK co-funded £8,000 donated to dedicated bank accounts it was set up to provide humanitarian and health aid to people displaced by the conflict. The Spanish group raised £85,000 worldwide and doubled that amount to £170,000.

Karl Goose, UK managing director of Ferrovial Construction, called for even more donations.

“It has been a month since the invasion of Ukraine began and we have all seen the horrific impact of this on the country and its people,” he said. “Like everyone else, I felt deeply worried and utterly helpless watching all of this unfold.

“I would personally like to invite everyone reading this to donate to the account. I appreciate that people are always asked to contribute to good causes, but it is actually about the refugee crisis that is experiencing the fastest growing since World War II and the people of Ukraine still really need everyone’s help.

Bam Nuttall staff based at Grimshaw Lane in Manchester worked together to collect and load needed items for the refugees. They were able to transport two vans from the site to a local Ukrainian center.

Holly Marritt, manager of Bam’s Transpennine Route Upgrade West program office, said watching videos at the center of people receiving a package “makes you proud”.

But she added: ‘What’s sad is seeing the damage it’s done to everyone and what all these people were dealing with on a daily basis.

The team continues to collect some items.

Willmott Dixon raises funds for the British Red Cross, organizes collections and donates essential items such as bedding, sleeping bags, towels, nappies, shampoo and sanitary napkins.

The contractor’s IT team has provided laptops and phones to Ukrainian workers in its supply chain who lack the equipment they need to communicate with friends and family. Workers are encouraged to use internet calls from on-site booths when needed.

Balfour Beatty has also made a confidential donation to the British Red Cross and is encouraging staff to use their paid volunteer days to help respond to the Ukraine crisis.

Housebuilder Redrow has donated £50,000 to the Disaster Emergency Committee fund in response to Ukraine’s humanitarian appeal. The company has also pledged to co-fund any fundraising by a colleague up to £1,000 per donation and £100,000 in total.

Redrow Chief Executive Matthew Pratt said: “Following an internal discussion with management, the decision to co-fund our colleagues’ fundraising efforts has been made with the aim of further reinforcing the generosity of our teams.

“We also hope their efforts will inspire others, both in our communities and across the industry, to support this cause however they can.”

The Barratt Foundation has donated £50,000 to support The Sun’s humanitarian appeal in Ukraine with the Red Cross.

David Thomas, Group Managing Director of Barratt Developments and Trustee of the Barratt Foundation, said: “We have all been affected by the shocking news from Ukraine. We welcome the Sun’s appeal and are happy to donate to support the vital work the Red Cross is doing to alleviate suffering and help families.

Some companies and individuals are getting involved in an even more concrete way.

Two staff from Northumberland-based off-site construction specialist Merit traveled to Poland by ferry from Amsterdam to deliver items worth over £5,000 to refugees from Ukraine.

Goods transported to Eastern Europe by the company included food, diapers, masks, blankets, baby clothes and medical supplies. Merit is working with her vendors and wider contacts to continue fundraising and plans to leave for another mission on Monday, March 28.

Kent-based Callisto Construction sent a convoy of vans to Poland after receiving thousands of pounds in donations for the people of Ukraine in less than 48 hours.

Director Bramwell Martin said: “The response has been incredible, overwhelming. We couldn’t take anything else if we tried and I’ll just say keep answering.

“People want to give and feel like they are giving directly to the people of Ukraine and that is exactly what we are doing.”

Last week, the owner of Birmingham-based contractor M Squared Building Services opened up about his “emotional” trip to Ukraine to deliver supplies to refugees.

Alex Willis said NC he faced ‘horrible’ scenes upon arriving at Poland’s border with the war-torn country.

He urged others in the industry to consider making the trip, but warned it was more difficult than expected.

“My background and contacts helped me and I had a team that ran projects back home which gave us the freedom to do that. Logistics was our bread and butter,” Willis said. “J I would encourage people to do it, but don’t underestimate it. It was hard.

Alice F. Ponder