UK BUSINESSES DRIVE FORWARD UKRAINIAN AID PARTNERSHIP Contributed by PA Media Press Centres A partnership between leading UK transport companies and Premier Inn owner Whitbread with a humanitarian aid charity is seeing tens of thousands of hotel pillows and duvets making their way across Europe to support the relief effort in Ukraine. Whitbread, Maritime Transport, and logistics company, Delivered, have partnered with Essex-based Hope and Aid Direct to donate over 50,000 duvet and pillow sets to help people and families affected by the war in Ukraine. Bedding is being taken from Premier Inn hotels across the country to find a new lease of life in refugee camps, to support displaced people facing unimaginable hardship following the outbreak of war. Maritime’s distribution division has been collecting full tautliner loads from locations in Scotland and England, with the first four Maritime vehicles having already set off on the 3,400-mile round-trip to Romania. A further ten Maritime trucks are planned to leave the UK over the coming weeks where non-governmental-organisation (NGO) partners in Poland, Romania and Ukraine will ensure that the bedding is distributed to those most in need of these items. Hope and Aid has already delivered 11 truck loads to various NGO’s, including essentials such as water trailers, hospital beds, medical supplies, hygiene items and food. The donations come as part of Premier Inn’s routine sustainable bedding replacement scheme, which sees bedding including pillows and duvets being replaced at their hotels across the UK. In usual times, 92% of the bedding goes on to be recycled but the unprecedented events have led to hotel teams sorting and packing bedding of an appropriate quality in order for it to be diverted and donated to support Ukraine. The donations are in direct response to an urgent request from Hope and Aid Direct for bedding to support displaced people. Hope and Aid Trustee, Steve Walsh, said “Hope and Aid Direct is very pleased to be working with Whitbread and its transport partners on this very important project to supply bedding to a huge number of Ukrainian families. All of the partners in this operation are committed to ensuring that the bedding is donated both to families who have managed to cross into neighbouring countries and others who are internally displaced within Ukraine”. Alex Williams, Managing Director – Distribution, at Maritime Transport “We are incredibly proud to be part of this project, delivering aid to the people and families whose lives have been so cruelly changed”. He added: “The entire Maritime community stands with Ukraine, and we’re all behind our drivers who have volunteered to drive across Europe to complete these important deliveries.” Simon Jones, Managing Director Premier Inn and Restaurants said: “The ongoing events in Ukraine are devastating and we are proud to be part of our project that seeks to provide some semblance of normality in such appalling times. I’d like to thank our hotel teams and transport partners for getting behind the effort – we sincerely hope it helps in a small way”. Jamie Barker, Sales Director at Delivered UK, said “In any kind of crisis situation, the real value of modern logistics comes to the fore. We’re very glad that our expertise in consolidation and domestic transport could help this very worthwhile project get essential goods to the people that need them most.” As part of its Force for Good strategy, Whitbread has also pledged to raise funds of at least £500,000 in support of The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and their international humanitarian effort. The funding, which is guaranteed by Whitbread, will be raised through matched fundraising activities in its hotels and restaurants across the UK. Online giving has been activated at premierinn.com as well as digital top-up giving in its restaurants, enabling people to round-up their bill should they wish to do so.