Bags for life: High school joins effort to help Ukrainian families

Ian Odgers, Leanne Jarman and Calum MacDonald at Northgate High School in Dereham

Ian Odgers, Leanne Jarman and Calum MacDonald at Northgate High School in Dereham with the bags for life, which will be filled with supplies for Ukraine - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's outstanding contribution to the humanitarian effort for Ukraine is continuing at a Dereham school - whose students are also adding a personal touch. 

Northgate High School is aiming to fill 200 bags with essential supplies for those caught up in the Russian invasion.

And in some of the care packages, pupils will include touching letters to offer words words of encouragement and love. 

It has been labelled as the 'bags for life' project - recognition that filling the supermarket carrier bags will help improve the lives of beleaguered families from the war-torn nation. 

The idea was the brainchild of Michelle Graves, Northgate's head of year 7, and Calum MacDonald, the school's alternative provision coordinator.

They reached out to the town's Morrisons store, whose community champion, Leanne Jarman, delivered the bags on Friday (March 4) alongside fellow aid organiser, Ian Odgers. 

Calum MacDonald, Northgate High School's alternative provision coordinator

Calum MacDonald, Northgate High School's alternative provision coordinator - Credit: Archant

"Watching the news we have been able to see everything that's going on in Ukraine," said Mr MacDonald. 

Most Read

"Like many people I wasn't one of those who wanted to sit back and let it happen, so I thought 'how can we as a school get involved?'

"Students will pick up a bag and take it home with thoughts about how they can contribute by donating some items from home. 

"The idea of the bags for life project is that students would be providing something that gives people in Ukraine - who are going through a terrible time - a bag to support their lives."

Leanne Jarman, Morrisons community champion, has been a key organiser of Dereham's aid effort for Ukraine

Leanne Jarman, Morrisons community champion, has been a key organiser of Dereham's aid effort for Ukraine - Credit: Archant

Dereham's response so far to the Ukrainian crisis has been nothing short of remarkable. 

Mr Odgers has been among those to lead the charge, launching an appeal last week to get warm jackets across to those affected by the conflict.

Since then the town's incredible community spirit has shone through, with donation points popping up across the area, including at Morrisons where hundreds of people have been queuing up to fill moving lorries with essentials.  

"What's gone on in the town has been incredible," added Mr MacDonald.

Ian Odgers, Leanne Jarman and Calum MacDonald at Northgate High School in Dereham

Ian Odgers, Leanne Jarman and Calum MacDonald at Northgate High School in Dereham - Credit: Archant

"We are all hoping things are going to improve and our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine."

Northgate is aiming for its students to fill their bags for life by the middle of next week. 

Ian Odgers, from Dereham, who has been organising donations of supplies for people in Ukraine

Ian Odgers, from Dereham, who has been organising donations of supplies for people in Ukraine - Credit: Archant