Piotrowice Nyskie Palace

An old friend, Jim Parton and his wife Anna have put their entire Polish hospitality and event business on pause to house and feed refugees from Ukraine.

I met Jim in October 2012 after I discovered he was restoring the former Prince Bishop of Breslau’s summer home about an hour south of an office I had in Wrocław, Poland. My family and I lived there the summer of 2013 and had the time of our lives. Jim and his wife Anna have held countless events, concerts and hosted guests from all over the world. They are now using their large estate to house and feed refugees from Ukraine. Jim and Anna can house and feed their new friends for about $13 USD, each person, per day. They can use our help.

Jim is certainly not a capitalist. I feel confident in saying he has undercharged everyone who has ever stayed with him. Jim acquired this palace out of love, with a desire to make sure the art and history of it all didn’t disappear. While we were staying there, we learned from a visiting professor that one of the walls in our flat dated back to 1350! If you crawl back through some of the photos Jim has posted over the years, you will see all the beautiful art that has been discovered after being hidden by the former communist era inhabitants.

At Rocket Web we have set up payment links to help you donate via credit card. Any donations received will be sent on a monthly basis to a partner charity Żywiecka Fundacja Rozwoju. Money we send will be in a special, charitable fund accessible by Jim. Rocket Web will cover all credit card transaction and bank fees so that all funds donated go directly to Jim and Anna’s efforts on the ground.

Jim’s university friend, Jane Hartnell-Beavis asked him what exactly the funds would be used for. This is his candid response:

"I need to be completely honest and warn that I don't really know yet. We'll keep some. Back of the envelope calculation, 10 pounds per day per refugee for us. As well as buying them things - they arrive with nothing. We ourselves need to stay afloat financially, our usual business is effectively closed down, so some of the money is for us. That's an ethical dilemma. We've already raised enough for us for the next month. At least, we think so. Then we'll help other people when we can and work out how to do that most effectively.

There are very many initiatives. For me, it is easiest to help other Brits in Poland, several of whom are doing amazing things. Anna, who is Polish, has lots of friends doing good things, and she can begin to help them.

220 disabled children arrived in the district with 20 carers. Some are autistic and self harm, no one is ready for that. Anna's friend said they were eating the donated Playdough. She said, don't give money, buy some snacks, so Anna did. The woman is also driving around the place, so we can fill her car up with diesel. That sort of thing.

I'm being offered money so I think I should just go for it and accept, because this is a moment where everyone wants to rally round, and that won't last.

We'll likely be housing people for months. So it's a battle fund. This is the acute phase of the crisis, a chronic phase will come, and by then we'll know what's what and have developed a bit of a system for helping.

If, at the end, we have a surplus, there will be a whole country to contribute to rebuilding. I'll have a lot of Ukrainian friends by then, and they will help guide it to the right places, no doubt."

Donate now with a credit card using one of the links in the bulleted list below or donate via bank transfer in PLN, USD or EUR using the info on the Żywiecka Fundacja Rozwoju website. Just make sure to add the word "Nysa" to your bank transfer details so the funds are routed to the Opolskie region.