Co-founders of a Digital HR Transformation company are driving to the Ukraine border later this month in a minibus to transport 15 refugees to the UK.’
Alan Walker, 44, and business partner Jeremy Russon, 53, set out on the 3,000-mile voyage on July 31. They will drive through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany before getting to the Poland/Ukraine border where they will meet and collect several families who have gained visas for the UK via a partner charity.
Alan and Jeremy set out to raise £2,500 towards essential supplies for the new arrivals along with fuel and accommodation for the journey, but have more than doubled their target after friends, family and business connections got behind their appeal.
Alan and Jeremy founded Udder, a HR tech consultancy firm, in 2019. Alan is based in Staffordshire and Jeremy lives in Wiltshire.
Jeremy said: “We’ve all been struck by the horrors of the last few months, watching the heartbreaking stories of the war in Ukraine. It’s incredible to think how welcoming the UK has been – I think more than 60,000 Ukrainians are now living here now – but we wanted to do our bit.
“We connected with a great charity that is helping people transition into British life, and then someone offered us a minibus. It kind of spiralled from there and we began to plan the trip and think about what it would look like.”
Alan added: “We put the word out there online and were blown away by the response – we were nervous about whether or not we’d raise the initial £2,500 target but now we’re at more than £6,500. Any surplus funds will go towards the next trip and helping other Ukrainian families settle in the UK.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous… it’ll be quite a challenge but I’m also really excited. I can’t wait to meet the families we are helping and showing them the UK.”
Udder, randomly named by Alan after he saw a cow on a TV advert, has boomed in the last three years, with its digital solutions and HR software consultancy packages proving popular across various sectors.
“We started Udder a few months before a global pandemic and we wondered whether or not we’d survive,” said Jeremy.
“But thanks to our incredible clients and partners, it’s grown more than we could have ever dreamed of. I guess this is our way of giving something back… we could do without missing a whole week of work but some things are more important than work.”
To support Alan and Jeremy’s trip, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ukraine-udder