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Europe’s merchants show solidarity with Ukraine

11 May 2022

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) hailed the success of last weekend’s European Federation of Building Materials Distributors (UFEMAT) Conference, which saw 100 delegates from eleven countries – including two from Ukraine – meet in London for the first time in almost 20 years.

With a business programme focused on ‘European Unity in a Digital Age’, the conference highlighted the shared experiences, challenges and opportunities faced by builders’ merchants and materials suppliers throughout Europe, which now includes the war in Ukraine.

The conference was also addressed by two delegates with personal knowledge of the war. Irina Salli of the Ukraine Union Manufacturers & Merchants and Igor Dalichuk, CEO of SBK, Ukraine’s largest brick manufacturer shared first-hand experiences of the devastation this has brought to their country.

UFEMAT was one of the first trade organisations to react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling on members to place an embargo on importing Russian building materials and, like the BMF, they have led the way in raising funds to support those affected by the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.

The BMF’s online appeal had already raised over £45,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s work in Ukraine, which was symbolically presented to Irina and Igor. A fundraising finale at the Conference Gala Dinner added over £10,000, with a further €15,000 from UFEMAT’s member appeal. Altogether the BMF and UFEMAT have raised €81,250 (£68,350) to support the people of Ukraine.

BMF, Chief Executive and current UFEMAT President, John Newcomb said: “This conference was originally scheduled for October 2020, and much has changed across Europe since then. One thing that has not changed is the spirit of co-operation evident amongst the delegates, and in particular their amazing generosity in support of our colleagues in Ukraine. It was truly shocking to hear personal accounts from Irina and Igor. The scale of destruction and disruption to every aspect of life, both family and business, in just a few short months is almost unimaginable. On behalf of both UFEMAT and the BMF, our sincere thanks to everyone that has contributed to our appeal.”

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