A clothing swap to help Ukrainians who have made Henley and the surrounding villages their home took place on Tuesday evening at Trinity Hall, Harpsden Road.
Ukrainian guests who have arrived in the UK with not many clothes were able pick out items for free. Other shoppers paid £6 and brought five items to swap and there was also a sale rail of quality clothes and footwear plus a toys and a bric-a-brac tables. Shoppers could enjoy a drink whilst browsing.
The event was organised by MotherSisterDaughter organisation set up by Gemma Birch, she said, “The clothing swap was a huge success! The whole focus was to enable our Ukrainian friends to ‘shop’ freely for themselves and choose what they liked for free, in a very informal, social environment. The feedback from all of our friends that were able to make it was truly overwhelming. On top of that we were able raise about £250. Which is a direct result of our fabulous volunteers who worked tirelessly for weeks prior to get the event ready. Extra thanks goes to Gaynor Peel who has been driving all over Henley collecting donations for the past month in support of what we’re doing. Every penny raised will go into the pot for any future needs as they arise. As I’m sure you can appreciate, whilst their situation is the result of the same experience, that being the war, each personal situation for host and guest is very unique and so we often have to react to a wide range of needs and requirements. We are now trying to gear up to help those guests whose 6 months hosting stay is coming to an end and so need to move on to their next chapter, whilst helping new people arriving, as well as helping everyone prepare for our colder winter months ahead.”
The Mayor, Councillor Michelle Thomas attending said, “It’s a great pleasure to meet Gemma and her team of volunteers who have helped this evening. I think it is a cracking idea to raise money for Ukrainian refugees. You hear in the news of the general fatigue around welcoming refugees. I don’t see it here this evening; I see a lot of goodwill. I have really enjoyed it and next time I’m going to much more organised and bring some pieces of clothing to swap. I think Gemma is an inspirational lady and I’ve enjoyed meeting everyone here.”
Gemma added, “We are planning another clothing swap and sale towards the end of September so for those who missed this one please follow our FB group @mothersisterdaughter for more information.”