A CARLISLE couple believe they have unlocked the secret to raising much-needed cash to help the victims of the war in Ukraine.

Jim Wilson and his wife Lisa run their Key Essentials key cutting, shoe repair and engraving business from a shop in Lowther Steet and it was natural extension of their work to invite people to donate their old keys.

Unwanted brass or steel keys can be turned into cash when sold for scrap and melted down, said Jim, whose business recently celebrated its second anniversary.

“We wanted to do something for the people in Ukraine,” he said.

“The people there are having a terrible time and we feel sorry for them. They’re going through hell and we wanted to do anything we can to help. Collecting old keys was an obvious thing for us to do, given our business. 

"Everybody’s got old keys lying around, in drawers, at the back of cupboards.

“If they want to drop them in our key collection bin outside the shop it will help raise funds. If local people want to start their own collection and gather together a decent number of keys I’ll happily pop out to pick them up.”

The appeal can also recycle old coins which are no longer legal tender.

Jim and Lisa’s fundraising effort – which will pass on the money raised to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal - is among many that have been launched across Cumbria to support the victim’s of the war.

Nearly seven million people have already fled from Ukraine, and it is estimated that eight million are displaced internally. Hundreds of thousands of people have no food, no water, no medical care, and no heat or electricity.

In Cumbria: Lisa and Jim hope their fundraiser will help ease the plight of victims affected by war in Ukrainian.Lisa and Jim hope their fundraiser will help ease the plight of victims affected by war in Ukrainian.

Red Cross teams have been working around the clock to get critical care to those who need it most, both in Ukraine and its bordering countries.

The charity’s website said: “With ongoing violence, an enormous number of people urgently need help right now. Your donations for Ukraine can make a difference.”

READ MORE: The terrifying impact of Covid-19 on one Cumbrian business