Following an appeal for storage space in Southampton for donations being sent to Ukrainian refugees, the former Toys ‘R’ Us building on Western Esplanade will be made available to the Polish Social Club in the coming week.

In response to the public appeal, Southampton City Council reached out to Packaged Living, the developers behind the £200 million Maritime Gateway development, who offered up the building as a storage solution to the Polish Social Club in Southampton to support local donations to Ukrainian refugees.

Paulina Kozlowska, Polish Social Club, said: “The Polish Social Club would like to thank everyone for all of their donations which has meant that we were in need of a bigger warehouse to coordinate what has turned into a huge local operation providing aid to Ukrainian refugees. We would also like to thank individual volunteers, smaller and larger organisations as we wouldn’t have been able to do it without you! 

“Donated goods have already been received by those in need in Poland and Ukraine and we continue to receive donations with more lorries leaving every week.

“Polish Social Club would also like to thank Packaged Living and Fiera Real Estate for offering use of the former Toys ‘R’ Us building as well as Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry and Royston Smith MP for helping to arrange this. Our thanks also go out to officers at Southampton City Council who have been working tirelessly with us to support our operation.”

Leader of the Council, Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry, said: “Since the beginning of this unprovoked attack on Ukraine, we have been doing everything we can to not only stand with those affected by this crisis but also support the humanitarian aid response in any way we can. 

“Due to the outpour of donations from people all over the city to send to the Polish-Ukrainian border, the Polish Social Club needed a large space to store and distribute these donations. Through a joined-up approach with stakeholders across the city, I’m delighted to announced that the Polish Social Club will start using the former Toys ‘R’ Us building in the coming week before it is demolished later in the year for a new development. 

“I would like to give my personal thanks not only to everyone across the city who has donated goods or their time to this cause, but also to our Council officers who have gone above and beyond to make this happen in such a short amount of time. I would also like to thank Packaged Living and Fiera Real Estate, the developer and funder bringing forward the regeneration of the former Toys ‘R’ Us site, Balfour Beatty, our highways partner, as well as Veritas Ltd and RG Security for their support to the Polish Social Club, all without whom this wouldn’t possible.”

Mark Woodrow, Joint Managing Director of Packaged Living, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting the humanitarian aid response by providing our vacant site to the Polish Social Club. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Southampton City Council and all partners who have been involved in getting this initiative up and running so quickly.” 

Find out more about how Southampton has shown support for Ukraine and how you can help online.


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