From Wicklow to Ukraine with Progressive Vision team member Colette Talbot

From Wicklow to Ukraine with Progressive Vision team member Colette Talbot

November 25, 2022

The phrase ‘force of nature’ comes to mind when Colette Talbot is involved.

With the ‘Together for homeless’ group, she routinely serves up dinner to people who are struggling to stay safe on the streets of Dublin, keeping an eye out to ensure that her diners are given more than a meal if they require other assistance.

She has also taken the war in Ukraine to heart, delivering aid in person to those whose lives have been upended by the conflict there.

Along with the rest of the world, Colette Talbot watched in late February as the images of the Russian invasion came through from Ukraine. The rest of the world watched their TVs but Colette was compelled to act. She put up a post on the open forum in Greystones.

Within days, a juggernaut was rolling as community spirit and the desire to help the victims of aggression was tapped. A willing ally was found in Doreen O’Reilly who opened Greystones tennis club for a wave of practical donations. Doreen and her ladies began sorting and boxing what had been received.

Meanwhile, Colette was making sure that the aid being prepared for the war-torn country on the far side of Europe included medical equipment and dressings, along with baby food and nappies.

The original plan was to fill one lorry container but, in the end, 10 containers were required: “It went on for two weeks as the whole community pulled together.

“I have a Ukrainian neighbour and she called in to our house, crying. She could not believe the amount of support.”

Then Colette decided that the containers could not possibly go to Ukraine without her escorting them. She and another volunteer set off for Poland in a van on Saint Patrick’s Day – by which time the number of vans in the convoy along with the 10 lorries had risen to seven. The vans too were laden with aid, all bound for the dropping-off point where refugees escaping the conflict were arriving in their thousands after crossing the border into Poland.

After their journey across the Continent, it would have been easiest to deliver and go. But Colette and supporters led a small spontaneous convoy of four of the vans into Ukraine itself and on to Lviv.

The sound of the air raid sirens, the sight of teenagers filling sand-bags, the streams of refugees walking to the border after sleeping in the fields, these are things she will never forget, things which prompted her to vow to return. Indeed, she has been back to Poland five times since, making sure that all the material goes to the right places.

Colette plans to travel to Ukraine again in January 2023. In her mind people are people and everyone deserves help and compassion regardless of race, colour or religion. Humanity should have no restrictions. Follow Colette’s Ukraine aid journey on facebook The Together for Homeless page link is