BEARR Newsletter: December 2022

One of BEARR’s partners in western Ukraine continues to run art therapy workshops despite being hit by electricity blackouts. They are providing displaced children with a safe space to relax and play, keeping them distracted from the targeted shelling and giving them a place to stay warm this winter.

15 December 2022

Season’s greetings from BEARR!

Dear friends and colleagues, 

We hope you are having a healthy and happy start to the festive season!

In this winter edition of our newsletter, and as an extremely busy 2022 for BEARR draws to a close, we are looking ahead to 2023 with a preliminary announcement of next year’s Small Grants Scheme.

We also bring you an update on our Ukraine Emergency Winter Appeal, and share our heartfelt thanks to all our wonderful donors and supporters. Thanks to your generosity, we have not only been able to provide emergency aid to vulnerable people in Ukraine and Moldova for the last ten months, but are now able to plan ahead for the next year. We are also delighted to announce that we have successfully applied for several grants, including pledges for multi-year-funding, to continue our work in Ukraine and Moldova into 2025.

Finally, we take a look back at our recently held Autumn Events, with a report on last month’s lecture with Edward Lucas and a review of BEARR’s Annual Conference, bring you three project reports from this year’s Small Grant Scheme recipients, and share the usual news items from the region.

With warm wishes for the rest of 2022 and a Happy New Year!

From all of us at
The BEARR Trust


2023 Small Grants Scheme

BEARR will soon be inviting applications for its 2023 Small Grants Scheme.

In 2022, the focus of much of BEARR’s work has been on Ukraine and Moldova, with the Ukraine Emergency Appeal at the forefront of our activities. Next year, the main Small Grants Scheme will focus on other countries with which we work, with another scheme reserved for applicants in Ukraine and Moldova.

It has been part of BEARR’s long-term mission to foster cooperation and partnerships, in the belief that this is fundamental to the operation of successful civil society organisations (CSOs).

For 2023, we are inviting applications for up to £4,000 for joint projects that promote the long-term partnership between two or more CSOs supporting vulnerable people in any area of health or social welfare. Applications are welcome from CSOs in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan.

No grants can be made at present to Russian and Belarusian CSOs because of difficulties transferring funds to those countries.We will also be inviting separate applications for up to £1,000 from existing grantees in Ukraine and Moldova for projects aimed at building organisational resilience. These grants are separate to our Emergency Appeal (which will continue to fund the distribution of humanitarian aid) and are designated specifically to support activities that improve the welfare of staff and volunteers, as well as to improve the organisation’s resilience.

Application forms and instructions on how to apply will be issued later in December. Please keep an eye on our website for further details.

Update on BEARR’s Ukraine Emergency Winter Appeal

Where BEARR’s Emergency Appeal funds have reached since February 2022

Almost ten months ago, and for the first time in more than thirty years that BEARR has operated in a time of emergency, we launched our Ukraine Emergency Appeal

Since February, our campaign has received over £360,000 in donations from individual supporters, private donors and grant-giving foundations. As of December 2022, we have sent £319,000 to more than 50 local organisations in Ukraine and Moldova to purchase food, clothing, fuel and medicine, as well as to provide shelter, trauma support and therapy, for thousands of vulnerable and displaced people.

With the onset of winter, and the continued targeting of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, our partners are in desperate need of funds to purchase generators, heaters, torches, warm clothes and bedding. One of our partners recently told us:

“After the last rocket attack, there was no light and communication for almost three days… We received our generator today! Thank you so much for your help!”

We continue to be inspired by the strength and resilience of our partners who are working in the most challenging of circumstances. Another organisation in western Ukraine is distributing torches to displaced families in remote villages – areas of Ukraine where international aid still hasn’t reached.

“In winter, because of the ruined infrastructure and black-outs, and limited supply of electricity due to the shelling, we need to supply the families from the remote villages with USB torches/camping lamps.”

Another partner is keeping children safe and distracted from constant blackouts and repeated attacks.

“We continue to work and hold regular creative meetings. Children make products with their own hands, distracting themselves from terrible everyday life. Also, when the lights were turned off, we continued to chat. Our goal is for children not to be afraid when it’s dark, but to support each other.”

You can find out more about how BEARR’s funds are being used to help people survive the winter in our latest website story.

With 88% of our funds already spent, we kindly ask that you please continue to support our campaignEvery penny donated will be passed on to our partners to purchase emergency winter supplies for vulnerable and displaced people in Ukraine, or who are now refugees in Moldova.

If you are able, please consider setting up a recurring donation. A regular income of funds will allow us to plan ahead for the coming months, and ensures we are in a position to support our partners for as long as possible.

We would like to once again thank you for your overwhelming support of our campaign over the last ten months. We are strengthened by the generosity of BEARR’s donors, and we are incredibly grateful for any contribution that you are able to make.

Support for BEARR’s Ukraine Emergency Appeal

The BEARR Trust would like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to the individuals and organisations who have recently raised money in aid of our Emergency Winter Appeal.

  • Gilly Wyatt-Smith of the Yew Tree Gallery in Cornwall donated £300 raised from commission on sales at her most recent exhibition to our appeal – see above left for Andrew Waddington’s delightful ‘Cornish Still Life with Irises’.
  • St Nicholas Church, Marston recently donated £500 to BEARR’s Emergency Appeal.
  • A charity fair in Somerset raised over £100 for BEARR, selling locally homemade jams and chutneys.
  • A Christmas wreath-making workshop was recently held in Hertfordshire to raise funds for BEARR and Parkinson’s UK. 
  • Clevedon Lawn Tennis Club have kindly offered to donate the proceeds from their charity New Year’s Eve event to BEARR.

We would also like to give thanks to Flora Hudson, a long-time follower of BEARR’s work, who has so generously offered to run the 2023 Rotterdam Marathon in aid of both BEARR’s Ukraine Emergency Appeal and Diabetes Fonds Nederland. Please keep an eye on our social media and newsletters in the new year for more details on how you can support Flora’s campaign. 

And for anyone who might be looking for a last minute Christmas gift, we would like to remind you of Ray Postill’s Arts for Ukraine sale, in which he is selling his life’s work to raise money for BEARR. So far, Ray has already raised over £2,800!

Alongside the support from the many individuals who have donated to our appeal, we are delighted to announce that we have successfully applied for two grants which we are set to receive in the new year. We are grateful for the support of The Mulberry Trust and The NSCCT. We are also thrilled that the EBRD Staff Council have set aside £5,000 to donate to BEARR.

If you would like to set up a fundraiser in aid of our campaign, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Information Officer, Alexia Claydon,

The Cost of War in Moldova

Many of you will have seen a report in The Guardian this week on the cost of living crisis facing Moldovans this winter. Aside from rising rents, rocketing energy bills and 35% inflation on basic food items, much of Moldova is similarly suffering from energy blackouts due to sharing a power grid with Odesa.

BEARR Trustee Jane Ebel has been working in Moldova for several years, and has been out there multiple times this year to help support the response across the border, as well as to deliver music and drama therapy programmes across six refugee centres. Jane has now set up a separate fundraiser to purchase and deliver thermal clothing, torches and power banks. If you can, please do consider supporting Jane’s campaign on GoFundMe here.

BEARR Events

BEARR’s Autumn Lecture 2022: Report

Last month BEARR was delighted to have former senior editor at The Economist and author of The New Cold War, Edward Lucas, give our Autumn Lecture “Putin’s War: What’s the Endgame?”

In case you missed Edward’s fascinating talk, you can watch a recording of the event here, as well as read a report by BEARR Trustee Ross Gill on our website here.

Thank you to all who attended and donated to the event. We are thrilled that the lecture raised over £2,800 for our Emergency Winter Appeal!

BEARR’s Annual Conference 2022: Report

The BEARR Trust Annual Conference 2022 was on the theme “War in Ukraine: The Civil Society Response”. It was a hybrid event, with 65 participants joining online from Ukraine and other countries, and 30 gathered in London at Voluntary Action Islington.

Two panels, moderated by BEARR Trustees Michael Rasell and Janet Gunn, discussed lessons learned from their experience over the past nine months and the challenges posed by the winter months and beyond.

It was wonderful to be able to see our Ukrainian and Moldovan friends, if not in person at least on the screen, even though some of them were in darkness some of the time or had to adjust their emergency lighting or internet connection. Despite the terrible times they have been living through, they seemed in good heart and determined to continue their incredibly valuable humanitarian work for as long as it takes.

The panel members from partner organisations thanked BEARR warmly for its support of their efforts providing humanitarian aid. Daria Gerasymchuk, the President’s Advisor and Commissioner on Child Rights and Child Rehabilitation, also thanked BEARR and all representatives of the NGO sector on behalf of herself and President Zelenskyy.

If you missed the conference, or would like to recap on the key points from the conference, you can read BEARR Trustee Marcia Levy’s report on our website in English here, in Ukrainian here, and in Russian here. You can also find the full recording of the conference in all three languages on our YouTube channel here.

Project Reports

New Generation NGO, Armenia

A recipient of this year’s Small Grants Scheme, New Generation NGO recently completed their project delivering social assistance and business training to the families of labour migrants in Armenia. As a result of the project, 50 families received food assistance and 20 participants were involved in a series of business development sessions. 

Read the full project report on our website here.

Gurdofarid, Tajikistan

Gurdofarid received a grant this year to set up a Migrant Support Centre in Khistevarz village. The centre was set up in the aim of helping migrants and their families find permanent work, receive business training or take part in skills-based courses.

As part of their project, they ran three 3-month sewing courses and three business start-up training sessions for 50 participants, many of whom have now set up their own private enterprises. Find their full project report here.

Insan-Leilek, Kyrgyzstan

For their project to protect the labour rights of vulnerable migrant women in Ekaterinburg, Insan-Leilek held a series of workshops on the theme of gender-based violence and work-place harassment for 40 Kyrgyz migrants.

They also provided 35 women with psychological support, legal consultations, humanitarian assistance and medical aid. Read the full report on our website here.

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