Bath Rugby to aid refugees

Bath Rugby is asking for donations to be delivered to those affected by the war in Ukraine.

From midday until 16:45 today at the Rec, three vans will be positioned by the William Street Gate entrance car park with the club encouraging donations of (van 1) sleeping bags and blankets, (van 2) adult clothing, (van 3) children’s clothing and toys.

After 16:45, only supporters with tickets to our match with Worcester Warriors in the Premiership Rugby Cup will be able to donate.

Following the collection, a group of Bath Rugby players will drive the vans to a Red Cross Centre in Poland to distribute the goods to Ukrainian refugees in need.

One of those making the trip 2,000-plus mile round trip is Blue, Black and White forward Tom Ellis.

He said: “We are asking all Bath supporters to join us in bringing sleeping bags, blankets, adults and children’s clothing and toys to the Rec on Wednesday.

“Nine of us will then drive the donations to Poland, to the people who need them most. Every single item will make a difference to somebody.”

People are encouraged to bag their donations separately so they can be distributed into the correct van.

However, the Rugby Club’s no doubt well-intentioned efforts have not met with universal approval.

Sarah Hall writes:

I used to work in a developing country. So many times have well-meaning people sat in their home countries and decided what they themselves fancied doing, rather than asking first.

I remember one well-meaning company turning up with brand new, still packaged first-team Chelsea Football shirts (retailing at circa £90/shirt) for a bunch of kids who were lucky to secure one meal a day.

They spent the day taking photographs for their website to show people back home what a fabulous thing they had done. All well-intentioned, but they would have done better to ask what was actually needed.

We had a famous Irish building company charging circa £2,000/week for people to fly from the UK to build and paint small homes in a township. They were watched by unemployed local builders. That money would have been better spent training local staff to build.

The local agencies on the ground in Poland want cash.  Those nine Bath rugby staff members would do better to raise cash here. Poland is awash with refugees. What Poland needs is its own economy supported at this difficult time. Not undercut with donated items. 

Here is what I cut and pasted from the Red Cross website (I am focusing on the Red Cross as they are referenced by Bath Rugby)

Why cash donations are better than goods  

We can’t accept anything other than cash for emergency appeals. 

Many people want to donate blankets and food when disaster strikes. But giving money is the best thing you can do.

In most cases, donating items doesn’t help those affected by disaster. At worst, it can slow down our ability to save lives. 

Transport costs are high for donated goods

Donated items need to be sorted, cleaned and transported.

Delivering these items means we spend more on our relief efforts. This leaves less money to help those in crisis.

Cash donations mean we can give help fast

Cash can be instantly transferred to areas where it’s needed. It can be used to buy whatever those affected by disaster need most.

This helps to rebuild communities. We can support nearby markets and traders.

In overseas emergencies, cash donations also allow us to be sensitive to local traditions and culture.

We get better value for money when we buy goods locally

When disaster strikes, we buy and source goods locally. This supports local businesses through difficult times – and it’s also more cost-effective.

On average, it costs four times more to source and buy goods here in the UK and send them overseas than it does to buy the same items locally.

Donated goods can block aid

Disaster areas are hard to reach if roads and bridges are damaged. 

It’s vital that emergency teams can reach the people who need them. Roads should not be blocked by trucks carrying donations. 

We know where donated money goes

Money donated to the British Red Cross stays within our Movement. We use our network to make sure help is given to the people who need our support.

We have staff at the scene during emergencies. They make sure your money is used properly.

The British Red Cross is also a member of The Cash Learning Partnership. This ensures that transfers reach the people who need them.

If you are near an area hit by disaster, specific donations can help

Are you near an area hit by disaster? Then you can help by responding to requests for specific donations from food banks and shelters. Always check first to see what they need.

Please donate any other items to a British Red Cross shop. We can sell your gift and give the money to good causes.

https://www.redcross.org.uk/shop/find-a-charity-shop

2 Comments

  1. Great PR stunt Bath Rugby, but driving Bath’s discarded old clothes and toys to Poland is really not what Ukraine needs right now. I can see that it might salve some peoples’ consciences ‘though, you know, ‘doing our bit’. Can I suggest you use the petrol money and ferry crossing fares to buy arms for their army instead. THAT’s what they’re short of, armaments. And, if you really want to help, drive your vans loaded with those armaments into Ukraine. Now that would be brave and worthy of public support.

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  2. The Red Cross have asked people NOT to do this. The Red Cross have asked concerned citizens to raise money in their home county and send it to relief agencies working on the ground. The Red Cross have explained these types of expeditions cause more harm than good. Why does Bath Rugby think they know best?

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