Pioneer academy chief to take aid to Ukrainian refugees

The chief executive of an education academy trust that runs four Croydon primaries is driving off to the Poland-Ukrainian border on a mercy mission to deliver aid to refugees from the Russian invasion.

Aid mission: around 3million Ukrainians have fled their homes in the past two weeks since the Russian invasion

“We all want to protect children from the worst things the world has to offer,” said Lee Mason-Ellis. “As the conflict in Ukraine has worsened it’s clear that many adults and children in the region are in need.”

As Russian shells rain down this morning on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, humanitarian agencies estimate 3million people have now fled Ukraine in the past two weeks, with one-third of those arriving in Poland.

Mason-Ellis is the CEO of The Pioneer Academy, a trust that runs 13 schools, including South Norwood Primary, The Crescent Primary, Woodcote Primary and Broadmead Primary schools in Croydon.

He has written to all parents, carers, staff and governors at the schools to let them know that he will be driving to Poland to take supplies to refugees and to transport some of the displaced people to wherever they need to get to en route to Britain.

He intends to undertake the trip in his trusty Land Rover and will be leaving next week.

A Crowdfunder page has been set up where people can donate, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Funds raised from this Crowdfunding page will be used to purchase aid, as well as helping to cover some of the costs. Supplies to be bought include first aid equipment, sanitary items, emergency blankets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, baby wipes and torches.

Responsibility: Lee Mason-Ellis

Additional funds will be donated to UNICEF’s Ukraine Emergency appeal.

“I feel a responsibility to lead by example and do what I can to help those who are suffering,” Mason-Ellis said.

“I believe that children learn a huge amount  from watching what others do.

“I hope that by taking action, some of the sadness children in our schools have been feeling can be replaced by a positive and determined outlook, as they will know that we can all make a difference.

“If you are able to make a donation, no matter how small, I would greatly appreciate it.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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