Focus Estate Fund, a CEE investment specialist with teams in Poland, Czech Republic and Ukraine, has converted a quarter of the Turawa Park shopping centre in Poland into a support and volunteer centre for Ukrainian refugees.
According to the firm, more than 10,000 citizens fleeing Ukraine have already applied for help to the Temporary Support Centre for Refugees (TOWU) in Turawa Park which is situated in Opole, in southern Poland, not far from the border with the Czech Republic.
Just a few days ago TOWU signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Polish branch of the Red Cross as it entered its second month of operations.
Said Oksana Rakova, head of communications, Focus Estate Fund: 'Focus Estate Fund acquired Turawa Park at the end of 2021. This is the fourth shopping centre in the fund's Polish portfolio.
'Within the first days of war, the fund made a decision to organise a Centre for Refugees using an area of more than 9,000 m2. We relied on our own resources and the possible support of local residents.
'But, as a result, we have received a colossal wave of solidarity from a huge number of Opole residents, public organisations, local businesses, as well as humanitarian aid from countries such as Germany, Austria, Netherlands, and Great Britain.
'Now Turawa Park is the largest collection and distribution point for humanitarian aid in the region, and we are grateful to every volunteer, every local resident who joined our initiative.'
The acquisition of Turawa Park, with a total area of 35,138 m2, added to three other retail centres it holds in Poland, in the cities of Sandomierz, Zgorzelec and Bartoszyce.
Added Agnieszka Pyzanowicz-Francke, director of Turawa Park: 'Help in organising a centre where Polish people can help Ukrainians (mostly women and children) was our natural heartfelt appeal.'
Refugees arrive in TOWU with their families, rest, and receive the things they need, such as clothes, cosmetics, cleaning products, things for children and food. On site, information is also provided on where to find places for long-term accommodation, as well as general consulting services and psychological assistance, plus information on going on to other European countries.
Currently, the centre receives from 300 to 1000 people a day, involving 100 to 250 volunteers.
Refugees who have decided to stay in the Opolskie Voivodeship are also given the opportunity to find new work opportunities. On 6 May, the Polish-Ukrainian Fair of Professional Activism starts in Turawa Park, where refugees will be able to meet potential employers.