DONATIONS have been flooding in for refugees fleeing from the war in Ukraine. 

Over just three days St Mary's Leisure Centre has been packed full of items to aid the war-torn nation.

Donations from people across the city have been pouring in with lorries set to depart over the coming days. 

The collection effort has been organised by Southampton's Polish Social Club.

Volunteer and co-organiser, Paulina Kozlowska, 38, said: “We’ve already managed to send eleven vans and three lorries.

"We have another three lorries and fourteen vans.

"We’ve got two lorries leaving today hopefully, another lorry on Tuesday and other companies are offering to transport goods for us so that’s brilliant."

The club is being helped by a transport charity called Van Aid which is shipping donations across Europe.

Paulina added: "We're getting 14 vans from [Van Aid] and two are from Southampton sites who want to go over and deliver the goods.

"These operations are self-funded, that’s amazing, people take time off work and jump in or hire a van and go to wherever they’re needed to help people they’ve never met before, it’s heart-warming.

"One of the drivers came down from Ireland and then drove all the way over to Europe. If that’s not commitment, then I don’t know what is but not all heroes wear capes do they and these are certainly modern-day heroes.

"Some of these people have never left the country, let alone driven on a different side of the road and they just think ‘We’re needed over there’ so they just jump in and go over, it’s so heart-warming, it’s beautiful."

"It restores your hope in humanity doesn’t it because I think the Covid crisis had shown us how important family, friends and that community spirit is. It’s nice to see ordinary people who can’t afford to donate but are happy to volunteer and we couldn’t do this without the manual support and our amazing volunteers" Paulina added. 

"The whole of Southampton is mobilised and it’s people of different nationalities, we’ve even got Russian citizens bringing in donations, so obviously Ukrainians are very involved but so are the British, we’ve had someone from Singapore helping, people of Asian origin and any sort of nationality. There’s no boundaries, everyone is able to help."

Meanwhile, the club has also launched a fundraiser for Ukraine on JustGiving.

With an overall target of £500,000, more than £13,000 has been raised in just a day. 

Paulina said: "We currently have a fundraiser. What we want to spend the funds on is either transport costs as and when it is needed, as loads of companies come forward and we get that transport free of charge but if any companies are self-funded, we’ll step up and pay for it. If these companies do come forward, we’re thinking of buying things like hospital tents, power generators and any big pieces of equipment that are required that we obviously aren’t getting through donations, the public or other organisations."