Ukraine conflict: how to donate and help

Ukraine is facing a humanitarian crisis as it fights invasion by Russia, and many are asking what they can do to help.

If you want to support the people of Ukraine, there are many organisations on the ground both in Ukraine and surrounding countries. We've highlighted several of the leading multinational charities below, and will add more to this blog in the coming days.

Donate money

If you can afford to, the most obvious way to help is to donate to one of the charities working on the ground to provide food, shelter and medical care to those in need. A number of charities have launched appeals in a bid to help.

  • The Disasters Emergency Committee. It's set up an appeal so that Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) charities can help those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, by providing shelter, food, water and healthcare. (The UK Government matched pound-for-pound £25 million donated by the public to this appeal - this target's now been reached.)
  • The British Red Cross. The charity's launched an emergency Ukraine Crisis Appeal, which aims to help those affected by providing food, water, first aid, shelter and medicine.
  • The UN Refugee Agency. As people flee to find sanctuary, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is working in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to keep refugees sheltered and safe. It says £48 could provide 10 warm blankets and £150 could provide legal help to eight people displaced by the conflict.
  • Unicef. Working to support Ukraine's 7.5 million children, Unicef provides families with food and water. It says £46 could provide a family with an emergency water and hygiene kit.
  • Save the Children. The charity's Emergency Fund provides emergency relief to families in Ukraine and around the world. This includes distributing essential supplies, providing education and supporting children's mental health.
  • The Lumos Foundation. The charity's Ukraine Emergency Appeal is raising money to help children trapped in orphanages in Ukraine. It also provides emergency food, hygiene and medical kits to families affected. JK Rowling has pledged to personally match donations up to £1 million.
  • CARE International. Working with the Czech organisation People In Need, CARE is providing emergency relief in Ukraine. It's also gearing up to help refugees in neighbouring countries. CARE says donations will help provide food, water, hygiene kits, cash and wellbeing support.

Donate Nectar points via Crowdfunder

Nectar has partnered with Crowdfunder to allow you to donate Nectar points to charities, such as Unicef and The Disasters Emergency Committee, supporting Ukraine. Simply link your Nectar account to your Crowdfunder account, or make a new account, then select 'Donate with Nectar' at checkout and choose how many points you'd like to donate.

Donate cashback via Topcashback – it'll match donations

If you have an account with Topcashback, you can donate your cashback to DEC's Ukraine appeal in the same way that you'd cash out your cashback usually, selecting "make a charity donation", then “Disasters Emergency Committee (International Aid)”. Topcashback says it will match donations up to £10,000.

Donate RBS and Natwest MyRewards points – they'll match donations

If you’ve a stash of Natwest or RBS MyRewards points, you can exchange them for a donation to DEC’s Ukraine Appeal. Until 30 June 2022, Natwest and RBS will match donations pound for pound up to a maximum of £1 million. So £20 in points will get you a £40 donation. For full details, see RBS or log on to Natwest MyRewards.

Donate medical supplies, nappies and more

Most of the large organisations want cash rather than items to avoid the additional transport costs. Though if you don't have spare cash – and many don't in the current cost of living crisis – some local organisations in the UK are appealing for medical supplies, baby items and toiletries to help those forced to flee. Many of these donations are headed to Poland, where the majority of the more than one million people displaced since the conflict began have sought shelter.

There are lots of grassroots collections happening – here are some we've spotted, but check your local Facebook groups too. (Though we haven't validated these groups and, of course, distribution may be difficult.)

Collections are usually run by small local groups. For example, the White Eagle Club in Tooting, London, is collecting items including helmets, first aid kits, sanitary products and toiletries. Paul's School shop in Southend is looking for medical items, nappies and food. Over in Chester, St Francis' Church is in need of toys, sleeping bags, thermal clothing and more.

To support these efforts, check Facebook, Twitter and local papers to find your nearest collection point. Organisations often put alerts on social media if they're accepting donations. Places of worship often run collections, no matter what faith you are.

Again, we'll add to this as we spot more ways to help – and do please suggest additional charities and collections via the MSE Forum link below.

Open your home to a Ukrainian refugee

If you have space, you could open your home to a Ukrainian fleeing the conflict. Under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, you can offer a refugee a spare room or separate property for at least six months.

The Government will pay hosts £350/mth tax-free for one year as a ‘thank you’. (The payment’s the same no matter how many people you take in.) This doesn’t need to cover food and living expenses, although you could choose to offer these.

Those who reach the UK can stay in the country for three years and will get Universal Credit (except the housing part).

How to take part

In this first phase, you need to know a named individual (or group) to help them. The first step is to fill out a sponsorship form. The Government may carry out background checks and visit your home.

If you don’t know anyone, you can register your interest here. In the next phase, the Government will match households with refugees, but it hasn’t said when this will start.

In the meantime, you may be able to link up with a someone in need of help via organisations such as Reset or Refugees at Home

This is a wonderful but big commitment – see the Government’s full Q&A for more on what it involves.