Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Latest News & Updates

This year’s AGM

26 March 2018

We had a good AGM on Sat 24th March. No new faces on the Executive, so you’re stuck with the old gang. Never mind – we had a good meeting, […]

Brief report of teachers’ trip to Hastings SL in February

17 March 2018

This press release appeared on 16th March in the Hastings & St Leonards Observer. It’s a short report, illustrated with some really nice photos. Just click here: https://www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/news/teachers-humbled-by-sierra-leone-visit-1-8414811

Quiz Night: STOP PRESS!

28 February 2018

Dear Friends of Hastings SL, You won’t be surprised to hear that we’ve decided, very reluctantly, not to risk holding the quiz this Friday. Instead, we’ve re-scheduled it to Friday […]

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Dreary British Winter exchanged for Tropical Heat
A large group, led by Isabel Hodger, one of the Hastings Friendship Link’s Education Liaison Officers, left for our Twin Town in Sierra Leone on February 9th for 10 days.
Thirteen teacher members of the group will be using their half-term break to work in African partner schools sharing experiences to bring back to their classrooms in the UK.
Two additional members of the group, local solicitors Richard Lane and Jenna French, have sporting expertise to share, eagerly anticipated by host schools.
In addition to the work of the Friendship Link in schools, support for the Health Centre in Hastings Village has been a long-term concern and Christine Boulton-Lane is travelling with the group to continue her work on this aspect. Our friends in Sierra Leone regularly express the view that Health and Education are their top national priorities.
Schools and Academies represented in the exchange are All Saints’, The Baird, Chantry (Bexhill) Christ Church, Hollington and Guestling Bradshaw Primaries and St Leonards Secondary Academy.
Classroom projects will be based around themes suggested by the British Council as part of its financial and educational support for the exchange.
Links between schools here and in Hastings Sierra Leone have been developing since the Twinning of the two towns in 2007. Roger Mitchell, who has been involved from the beginning, said, “It has been a real privilege to witness the impact these exchanges continue to make on teachers both here and in Sierra Leone and how the education of their pupils is enhanced as a result”.
Fay Jagot, from Battle and Langton School, has recently joined the partnership and commented, “I have worked with children for 20 years, yet have never previously witnessed such enthusiasm from children to find out, learn and correspond across the miles”. Corinne Harris from Dudley Infant School who has been involved for several years said, “Our link with Edest School has been an empowering project for pupils and teachers alike. Children both in the UK and in Africa have benefited greatly by meeting visitors from their partner schools
As well as time to relax with partners out of school, there will be a whole day Education Conference held at the headquarters of the British Council in Freetown.
Some members of the group will find time to see for themselves the devastation caused by the recent mud-slides in the hills between Hastings and Freetown. They will meet some of the surviving but displaced families being helped by generous donations from folk associated with the Link.
The group have returned safely and enthused by their experience. We will give reports from the teachers on their experiences and from Christine and Richard re the Health Centre and other work over the next few weeks.
It is hoped that a return party can visit the UK towards the end of the Summer Term.
Find out more about the Friendship Link and the work it is doing in Hastings, Sierra Leone at our website:
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Good evening to everyone who donated to our Sierra Leone Mudslide Appeal. All of the money you helped raise has been sent to the victims of the mudslide. The funds were initially used to provide food and water, bedding and shelter. Then funds were provided to individuals who had lost their homes, families and livelihoods to help them start to earn a living again. A builder was able to buy tools to start work and a seamstress able to buy a sewing machine and begin to make clothes to sell once more. Just two examples of the people you have helped us and our partner charity Build on Books help rebuild their lives. Thank you to you all. Our work in Hastings Sierra Leone will continue and you can continue to help if you wish by joining us or just keeping in touch through this page and donating through the BT my donate page. ... See MoreSee Less

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Twinning Link recognised on tenth anniversary!
Visiting Teachers and Link Members were accompanied by the Mayor and the Leader of Hastings Council to unveil the new Twinning sign at the entrance to Hastings from Rye which now has Hastings, Sierra Leone added to it after ten years of fundraising, twinning activity and teacher exchanges. Link Members expressed their delight that the twinning link with Hastings, Sierra Leone and all of the humanitarian work that the funds raised have been able to achieve has at long last been recognised formally.
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Link bids farewell to visiting Teachers
Last Friday saw local teachers bid farewell to their Sierra Leonean colleagues with a farewell gathering at St Leonards C of E school. Link Members joined the teachers and members of the Hastings Association in London travelled down to join the celebration of a successful week of sharing teaching practices and sightseeing visits to local attractions. Grateful thanks to the Diaspora from London for an amazing spread of traditional African food and to Highly Strung for entertaining us all with traditional music and getting us all up on the floor for some folk dancing. Our visiting teachers returned the compliment with an impromptu performance of a traditional African song.

Focus is now turning to planning the return teacher visit to Hastings, Sierra Leone next February and to progressing the Schools' Sanitation Project and refurbishment of the Twin Town Centre.
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Teachers from Twin Town ‘greatly appreciate friendship between us’

Seven teachers from Hastings Sierra Leone arrived in the town on Hastings Day. They are spending a week working alongside teachers from The Baird Primary Academy, Guestling Bradshaw CE Primary, St Leonard’s CE Academy, St Mary Star of the Sea RC Primary and West St Leonard’s Academy.

The coordinator of this project, Roger Mitchell said ‘Our partnerships are proving highly valuable in helping children here and in Sierra Leone to understand more about the world they live in. They gain insights into how cultures and lifestyles interact through history, climate and geography”.

Support coordinator, Isabel Hodger has been overseeing the collaboration between the Link and the British Council. She has also been focusing on improving the teaching of mathematics in our partner Sierra Leone Schools with the help of Letitia Huggins. Letitia teaches at Jui Lower, near to Hastings town and is very keen to help her colleagues using the strategies learnt and observed. She said “I am really looking forward to developing some of the ideas we have shared when I return to my own school”.

Francis Mason, co-ordinator of the link in Sierra Leone, accompanied the party and spent time visiting the other nine schools involved in the link. Francis said “I want to thank all the people in Hastings UK for their hospitality and desire to share with us in educating all our children. We appreciate greatly the friendships that have grown up between us”

Regular exchange visits have been taking place between Link schools in both countries since 2010, mainly funded by British Council grants. This year, jointly funded by the schools themselves and the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, this return visit helped to share skills and embed relationships in order to enhance the children’s understanding of our world in both countries.

As well as working hard in their schools, the teachers have had an opportunity to experience life and have some fun in Hastings and East Sussex. They have tried Morris Dancing and Crazy Golf, and visited the Caves and Hastings Castle.

Plans are already well advanced for further exchanges in 2018.
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