Today, ICMIF member NFU Mutual (UK) has announced a GBP 150,000 donation to support communities affected by the crisis in Ukraine. The emergency donation will be made through the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, an independent charity set up to support charitable initiatives. The Trust will be making its donation to the UK Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Appeal.
In addition to this donation, NFU Mutual is divesting from all Russian holdings as soon as practically possible and has signed up to the Association of British Insurers’ pledges, which commit to allowing customers to use their private and commercial vehicles to deliver humanitarian aid into neighbouring countries.
Jim McLaren MBE, Chairman of the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, said: “Right across the UK we are seeing extraordinary efforts by farmers, rural communities and the farming unions to support and show solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
“This devastating crisis has touched everyone and people are desperate to help. Some will have worked alongside Ukrainian colleagues on British farms and are deeply concerned for their Ukrainian friends and their families, others will be watching the terrible events unfold at home and want to do all they can to support the victims of the crisis.
“As a mutual, we support the issues that are important to our members and we hope our special donation of GBP 150,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal will help further the incredible support shown by farmers across the UK.
“Many NFU Mutual staff and Agents are already supporting the people of Ukraine through their own efforts with a range of activities, from setting up donation stations to fundraising in the communities they serve,” McLaren concluded.
NFU Mutual customer case study
Paul Lowenstein (pictured above right), a 58-year-old QC from Barnes in London, decided to do something after hearing a story on the radio about people delivering goods to the Ukrainian border.
“Like everybody else I saw what was going on in Ukraine, and we were very moved by the human tragedy unfolding,” he said. “In my work, I have close contact with Ukrainian and Russian people. I felt I had to do something about the human tragedy.
“One of my son’s friends lent us a three and a half tonne truck. I spoke to Alasdair at NFU Mutual and asked would he insure us at short notice to take this van which we’ve been offered up to the border. Within a few hours he’d come up with a solution, it was unbelievably quick.
“It was important to collect the right goods that were needed. My son Jonah (pictured above left), who is tech savvy, started searching around and we found a group of doctors who had collected a very large amount of medical and humanitarian supplies and food. Mainly things like blankets, medicines and scissors; things that would help people who are wounded; strong blankets to carry people on who have been hurt. But the doctors had no idea how to take it over.”
After loading up the truck with the supplies, Paul and his 21-year-old son Jonah set off on a gruelling 20-hour drive to the Poland-Ukraine border, and on the way they made contact with Anastasia in Ukraine who enthusiastically volunteered to collect and distribute their aid to where it would be of most use.
“The striking thing was the further east the colder it got. We met some very brave people who had driven down with a van, Anastasia had brought young men from a village who were strong, and we transferred our boxes to another lorry by human chain.
“It was an emotional farewell; they were going back to a warzone. There were large throngs of Ukrainian people queuing at the border with children in the cold. The Polish border was not holding them up at all, it was just sheer numbers.”
Since then Paul has forwarded his contact’s number on to other people taking supplies to the border and has been assisting with fundraising to facilitate further specific relief projects in Ukraine.
“We need to do as much as we can, it’s a very urgent and international humanitarian tragedy. For those that want to help, one of the best ways is to donate is to give money to the DEC fund. There are other specific initiatives that also need funding.
“People are very keen to send clothing, but the striking thing is that we saw that much of the clothing is being thrown on the ground, it’s not needed or wanted. They need warm heavy winter blankets, bandages, and medical supplies for hospitals. People who were lawyers last week are now carrying guns, are getting injured. They need to be cared for when they’re wounded.”
Since returning to the UK at the weekend, Paul has worked with a team in Ukraine and England and in just a couple of days they have raised GBP 13,500 and counting to pay for further trips shuttling medical and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine. You can contribute to this effort at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/medicalaidtoukraine