Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Latest News & Updates

Cryptic quiz for lockdown: the results!

26 July 2020

Thanks to everyone who had a go at the lockdown cryptic quiz. Lots of 70 out of 70 this time, but quite a few people just missed the cut, thanks […]

Health Centre update: the impact of covid-19

21 July 2020

Christine Boulton-Lane has provided this update on the Health Centre: HASTINGS SIERRA LEONE FRIENDSHIP LINK – HEALTH CENTRE SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT – Feb-July 2020. Having confirmed the need for a new […]

Sharing teaching ideas across 3000 miles

15 July 2020

St Paul’s CE Academy is partnered with REC Kossoh Town. Jason Morton and his colleague Jamie Orsbourne were out there in February, sharing teaching ideas with their SL opposite numbers. […]

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Children and Teachers from St Mulumba School in Hastings Sierra Leone proudly show off their crops grwon from seeds donated by the Battle Horticultural and Floral Society. Betty Lamin, Headdteacher is delighted by their enthusiasm and the success of the project. ... See MoreSee Less

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From little acorns, who knows what might grow?
In February 2020, just before the Covid-19 lockdown, the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link led the party of 18 Teachers and 5 Link volunteers to continue work on the Link’s strategic themes of Education, Health, Creating Livelihoods and Community Support in our Twin Town in Sierra Leone.
They took with them a generous donation of £200 from the Battle Horticultural Society, so that the schools could purchase seeds, and teachers and pupils could grow food crops in the grounds of their schools.
The money was shared between 13 schools in the Hastings area in Sierra Leone, which doesn’t sound a lot for each school but little did we imagine how successful it was going to be.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, Crain crain, corn, basil, okra and cassava were just some of the crops grown by the schools and several of the schools were so successful that they have been able to sell some of the crops and are using some of the income to buy more seeds.
Isabel Hodger who led the team of teachers during the visit said:
“This was a simple but very exciting project which gave the teachers and pupils a sense of responsibility and ownership as well as fresh food. It has enabled them to feed hungry children and staff who are struggling financially. It has also provided some income to re-invest in more seeds, as well as provide funds for equipment for the schools. A real success all round. The hope is that they will continue to grow crops for food and continue to generate income. It could also provide future livelihoods for some of the children. Who knows? From little acorns………………….“
The photographs say it all and the upbeat messages from the Sierra Leone teachers confirm how enthusiastically the children have taken to the project. Let’s hope the project maintains its momentum and the crops continue to flourish.
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Imagine coping with a Triage and Isolation Facility Like this? This is what the Health Centre in our twin town has to cope with to triage potential victims of Covid-19 alongside other diseases such as malaria, HIV and TB. During our visit in February we discussed what was needed and plans were drawn up on our return for a new unit. Estimates were obtained and £21,000 is needed to build it. Raising funds is difficult at the moment but any help you can give will go a long way. You can donate through Give as you Live on line via our website at www.hastingshastings.org.uk ... See MoreSee Less

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The Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link now has a twitter account
@hastings_link why not follow it and see more news about our projects and fundraising activity?
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Have you become a quiz champion since the start of the lockdown? Have you learned a lot about Illness and Health problems? If you think you have test your skills on our infamous Orange Quiz sheet which has an illness and health theme and help us raise funds for our range of humanitarian projects in our Twin Town, Hastings, Sierra Leone. You can now enter on-line at www.hastingshastings.org.uk/special-quiz-sheet-to-keep-you-busy-during-lock-down/ closing date is 25 July so there is still plenty of time to take part for just £2! ... See MoreSee Less

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Busy day working on water supply and sanitation projects. Have definitely earned a cold shower and a cool beer! ... See MoreSee Less

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Stage 1 complete. All checked in and breakfast at Heathrow. Many thanks to 247247. Next stop Brussels. 👍 ... See MoreSee Less

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Just a few hours to go before the team set off for Sierra Leone and test all of the preparation that has been going on for several months now. Let’s wish all of the teachers and volunteers a safe journey and a productive trip. Thank you also to 247247 for providing us transport to the airport free of charge. A huge gesture which is really appreciated and means more of the funds raised will go to the work in out Twin Town in Sierra Leone. We’ll try to keep you updated on the trip. ... See MoreSee Less

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Friendship Link Team prepares for a busy time in Twin Town in Sierra Leone
23 teachers and volunteers from Hastings are busy preparing for their visit to our Twin Town, Hastings in Sierra Leone in just under a week’s time. The Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link will be leading a party of 18 Teachers and 5 Link volunteers to continue work on the Link’s strategic themes of education, health, creating livelihoods and community support.
“The teachers have been working with the British Council and their twinned schools in Hastings Sierra Leone to develop lesson plans and projects to share cultures through learning. The UK teachers all received the British Council Global Teacher Awards as a result and are keen to begin to use their new skills in Sierra Leone.“
Alongside the teachers, volunteers from the Link will be working on major projects to improve sanitation and hygiene in schools, focussing on sustainable water supplies, toilets, improved hygiene facilities and waste management.
Richard Homewood, Chairman of the Link said:
“The Schools’ Sanitation Project is our latest initiative. Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. According to UNICEF, every day, over 800 children die, worldwide, from preventable diseases caused by the lack of these. It is acknowledged that Sub Saharan Africa, which includes Sierra Leone, lags far behind other continents in addressing the problem. In Sierra Leone the lack of these basic facilities in our twinned schools is impacting on their education and their futures. Children often miss out on education because they spend hours every day collecting water and are exhausted if and when they get to school. Many older girls have to miss school on a regular basis due to the lack of menstrual hygiene facilities. Whilst we can’t tackle the problem in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa, we can improve the prospects for the future of children in the schools we are twinned with in Hastings, Sierra Leone by ensuring they have a sustainable water supply, good basic sanitation and hygiene facilities. Following a survey of all of the twinned schools, we have already funded work at four schools to provide sustainable water supplies. During the visit we will work with the remaining schools to identify what they need and how we can help provide it.”
Isabel added:
“The teachers in the 27 partnered schools have already been working with their pupils on a Zero Waste project to minimise waste and increase recycling as part of this project. Posters produced by the children in the UK will be taken and judged by the children in Sierra Leone at an International Pupil Council meeting during the visit.”
Work will also continue to improve facilities at the Health Centre in Hastings where there is a need for specific equipment but more importantly triage and isolation facilities. Survey work will be carried out during the visit and the scope of the work agreed so that fundraising can continue.
Christine Boulton-Lane, Chair of the Link’s Health Committee said:
“I am very much looking forward to working with the hard working staff at the Health Centre again. There is always much to be done but they are so grateful for the things we have been able to do over the years we have been working with them, even through the period of the Ebola emergency.“
The team will be working with the community to assess what other help the Link can offer including exploring including job creation to help people gain sustainable employment or create their own businesses to earn a living after they leave school. David Lewis, who is currently helping to develop future strategy for the Link’s Creating Livelihoods project to help relieve widespread poverty in Sierra Leone, said:
“I am really looking forward to my first visit to Hastings, Sierra Leone where I will be seeking to identify opportunities for employment and the development of sustainable businesses. I will also be investigating the availability of vocational training through visits to secondary schools, technical institutes, development NGOs, local charities and community groups. I will be working on identifying stakeholders for potential partnerships in the Hastings area in order to achieve the project’s ambitious objectives around securing the futures of future generations”.

Richard Homewood concluded by saying:
“Everybody is extremely excited by the challenges and opportunities this visit to our Twin Town presents. We have several projects underway all of which have the potential to make a huge difference to the daily lives of the community there. None of this can be done without the support of the community here in the UK and we are extremely grateful to the people of Hastings UK and the surrounding areas in helping us to achieve so much in Hastings, Sierra Leone since we first started working there at the end of Rebel War. There is an awful lot more to do and we need your continued support for the work to continue.”
Find out more about the Friendship Link and the work it is doing in Hastings, Sierra Leone at our website:
www.Hastingshastings.org.uk
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Kind hearted Freya, a year 6 pupil at Battle & Langton C of E Primary School, thought that her teachers probably got too much chocolate from the children at Christmas whilst she had been learning how the children in Hastings Sierra Leone needed clean water and toilets and lots of basic things. She decided with her family that instead of giving her teachers even more chocolate to say thank you at Christmas present, she would give them a donation of £50 towards the Friendship Links Sanitation Project. How amazingly thoughtful and kind! Maybe something other parents and teachers will support next year? The photos show Freya presenting the cheque to Mrs McKay and Mrs Stevens at the school. Well done Freya! ... See MoreSee Less

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School Sanitation Project Update
More photos of pump refurbishment work at REC Hastings and Jui Upper School. Both schools now have a water supply again and the children will be delighted when they return to school after the holidays.
We are now working with more schools to work out what needs to be done and obtain estimates so we can plan how to proceed. As the work gains momentum we desperately need your support and donations to keep the project going. You can donate through Give as You Live on our website at www.hastingshastings.org.uk or through the fundraising page on Facebook.
Thank you to everyone who has donated already. We and the community in Hastings, Sierra Leone really appreciate the difference your donations are making.
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Sanitation Project Update.
Work is continuing at REC Jui. The well and pumps are fixed but they are now inspired and are continuing to improve the facilities and decorate the well area.
We are already talking to the next set of schools to get estimates and programme the work to get water supplies into more schools. The visit if February will provide an added boost to the momentum of the project and we will visit all of the schools to carry out surveys and agree with the head teachers the work that needs to be done.
Thanks to every one who has contributed so far. Your donations are making a real difference enabling us to progress with the school sanitation project and to continue the work with the Health Centre and the community.
Can I take this opportunity to wish all of our supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and successful New Year.
Thank you once again for your continued support.
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Preparations are well underway for the Friendship Link’s visit to Sierra Leone in February next year. 23 members of the Hastings UK community will be travelling to Hastings Sierra Leone on 14 February for ten days.

18 of these are teachers representing most of our partnership schools, led by Isabel Hodger and aided by Richard White and Richard Lane. Christine Boulton Lane will continue her excellent work with the Health Centre in Hastings. Richard Homewood will be working on our Schools Sanitation Project. David Lewis is exploring the development of livelihoods, looking at business opportunities for local people and how we can help them earn a living for the future.

The Teacher group will be using their half term break in UK to teach in their partner schools in Sierra Leone. They have met several times this autumn to plan for their partnership visit. Booking flights, acquiring visas, checking documentation and booking accommodation are just a few of the tasks completed so far.

Teachers have received training through the British Council for their Global Teacher Award, and have picked up lots of ideas for activities. They will be spending the week in their partner schools, learning about education in Sierra Leone, observing their partners teaching and sharing some of their own teaching experience through activities with the children.

They will also attend a British Council Conference on the first weekend of their visit. It will be a packed programme, but they will also have the opportunity to get to know Hastings and Freetown Sierra Leone, and enjoy the company of residents at evening social events and there may even be time for some shopping and a trip to the beach for a swim.

In the first 6 weeks of 2020, teachers will be planning their activities and collecting resources to take with them. There will also be some collaborative planning in order to run stimulating partnership workshops in February.

This visit has been made possible in part through grants awarded by the British Council to allow reciprocal visits for both UK teachers and for Sierra Leone teachers. Other members of the team are self-funding their trips, such is their commitment to making a difference to the livelihoods of children in Sierra Leone.

Work to successfully apply for these grants took place last year, and huge thanks to Mandy Hinxman and All Saints CE Primary, and Faith Rew and Guestling Bradshaw CE Primary, who were able to get grants for 10 of our school partnerships.

We would like to thank everyone for their generous donations that support our key projects in Sierra Leone. Updates on the projects can be found on our website hastingshastings.org.uk
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School Sanitation Project forges ahead. Kankalay School has made real progress with its water supply and there are some videos on our page to show the progress that has been made. We are busy planning for the Exchange visit in February when a group of 25 teachers and volunteers will be sharing their skills and experience with their colleagues in Sierra Leone. Whilst the teachers focus on education other volunteers will be working with the Health Centre and on the Sanitation Project to review progress with the four schools so far and to encourage other schools to join in. Water supply is just the first step toward providing proper hygiene and sanitation facilities in all fourteen schools we are twinned with. None of this could be achieved without your kind generosity, so thank you all and best wishes for the festive season. ... See MoreSee Less

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Kankalay 3 ... See MoreSee Less

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Kankalay 7 ... See MoreSee Less

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Kankalay 5 ... See MoreSee Less

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Kankalay 1 ... See MoreSee Less

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Kankalay 3 ... See MoreSee Less

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Kankalay 8 ... See MoreSee Less

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School Sanitation Project forges ahead. Kankalay School has made real progress with its water supply and here are some videos to show the progress that has been made. We are busy planning for the Exchange visit in February when a group of 25 teachers and volunteers will be sharing their skills and experience with their colleagues in Sierra Leone. Whilst the teachers focus on education other volunteers will be working with the Health Centre and on the Sanitation Project to review progress with the four schools so far and to encourage other schools to join in. Water supply is just the first step toward providing proper hygiene and sanitation facilities in all fourteen schools we are twinned with. None of this could be achieved without your kind generosity, so thank you all and best wishes for the festive season. ... See MoreSee Less

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Work on the sanitation project is well underway at Jui Upper School where they have been digging the well deeper and repairing the pump. They do not have access to any piped water supply. Dangerous work for those involved going down the well but it will certainly make a huge difference in ensuring a regular water supply all year. Thank you once again everyone for your generous donations. ... See MoreSee Less

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Great progress with the sanitation project in Hastings SL. St Mulumba has been working hard to connect the water supply to the tank and complete the project at their school. Staff and pupils are eternally grateful for the help we have given them with the first stage of the sanitation project. During the exchange visit in February we will be visiting all of the schools to survey what needs to be done for the next phases of the project, providing toilet and hygiene facilities. The project is starting to gain momentum and we need your help and support more than ever now. Best wishes for the festive season and thank you all once again for your generosity. ... See MoreSee Less

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Great progress with the work on the water supplies at schools in Sierra Leone. At St Mulumba, water tower built and tank in place! Well at REC Hastings repaired and security improved, awaiting the new gate. Thanks to everyone in the UK for their contributions and thanks to the staff at schools in Sierra Leone and the workers for making things happen! ... See MoreSee Less

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Schools Sanitation Project gets off to a great start!
Work has begun at the first four of our twinned schools to ensure they have a sustainable water supply. The work at ST Mulumba, Kankalay, REC Jui and REC Hastings is being funded by the generous donations and the amazing fundraising efforts from our friends and supporters. There is a long way to go with securing the water supplies for all 14 of our twinned schools being only the start. Toilets and Hygiene facilities will follow but the first priority is the sustainable water supply to each.
We are working with the other schools to get estimates for the work and will hopefully give the go ahead for more of them before our visit in February next year. Photos of the work at St Mulumba here building the water tower. We will post more photos as we get them to show how the work is progressing. Thank you once again everyone for your generous donations.
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We are delighted to welcome Southern Energy Solutions as a partner in our fundraising efforts to change the lives and opportunities for children in our Twin Town in Sierra Leone through our work on the Schools Sanitation Project and the Health Centre Project. Your contributions, however small, can make a huge difference. Visit our website today for more information. ... See MoreSee Less

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Coming Soon! The Popular Friendship Link Music Quiz, 20th September 2019. Book soon to avoid disappointment! ... See MoreSee Less

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Friendship Link Schools Soccer Tournament 2019, the best yet!
Sandwiched between days of rain the annual contest between teams from local schools, twinned with schools in Sierra Leone through the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, enjoyed warm sunshine and a gentle breeze last week, to participate in the Link’s annual Schools’ Soccer Tournament which turned out to be the best yet.
This year the tournament was held at a new venue, the Bulverhythe playing fields, by kind permission of Hastings Council.
Teresa Bennett, School Sports Coordinator for Hastings and Rother Schools Games Partnership, once again was unflappably in charge of the tournament’s organisation, assisted this year by students from Bexhill College.
Both the Girls’ and Boys’ contests were fought on an all-play-all basis, each match lasting 9minutes. The girls provided a very close contest in which All Saints’ and Christ Church ended in a draw with equal points. Christ Church squeezed home in first place on goal difference, having won one of their matches by 9 goals to nil!
The Boys’ teams ended the afternoon with St Mary Star of the Sea triumphant, just one point ahead of Christ Church – a really close and exciting contest.
Garry Saunders, who coached the Christ Church teams said: “The standard of football played by all the participating teams has risen year on year. The Sierra Leone football tournament has become a real show piece finale to end the school football season.”
Jason Morton, in charge of PE at St Paul’s School said: “Parents were really impressed with the level of football on show”.
Hastings Mayor, Nigel Sinden was on hand to present the ‘gold’ medals to the winning teams and was assisted by Deputy Mayor, James Bacon, who presented the ‘silver’ medals to all other contestants.
Roger Mitchell, the Schools Liaison Officer for HSLFL responsible for the event, said: “the availability of refreshments at the new café, run by volunteers from the Friends of Combe Valley Nature Reserve greatly enhanced the afternoon’s festival atmosphere . I wish this venture every success”.
This was the last of the Sierra Leone Friendship Link tournaments to be organised by Teresa Bennett. She has been at the heart of every tournament since the first was held in 2007. Mayor, Nigel Sinden made a special presentation to Teresa on behalf of the Friendship Link. Teresa said: ”It has given me an enormous amount of pleasure to run these tournaments over the years and to work with everyone”.
Find out more about the Friendship Link and the work it is doing in Hastings, Sierra Leone at our website:
www.Hastingshastings.org.uk/about/
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Sierra Leone link promotes Zero Waste
On June 15th a group of teachers from the Hastings area in Sierra Leone will be arriving to work for a week with students and staff in their partner schools in Hastings UK. As part of this year’s exchange programme they have all been making huge efforts to involve their children on both continents in Zero Waste activities. Global citizenship took another step forward when the Hastings UK schools took part in a clean-up afternoon.
Beach cleans and street cleans took place on Hastings beach and around Battle as part of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link’s Zero Waste project.
The Hastings beach clean-up crew came from All Saints’, St Leonard’s, St Paul’s and Sedlescombe CE Primaries while Battle Abbey, Battle and Langton and Claverham students purged the undergrowth and those corners where litter collects in Battle. Students and staff who took part were mildly encouraged to find less waste than they were expecting,
Schools coordinator Isabel Hodger commented, “perhaps the serious situation we all face is beginning to filter through to the public. It certainly needs to make a powerful and urgent impact on all sections of the community.”
Roger Mitchell, fellow schools coordinator added, “we were delighted by their enthusiasm, it is vital that the younger generation get the message clear and strong and the work which the 12 school partnerships with Sierra Leone are doing is clearly making an impact with students in participating schools.”
Jett from St Leonard’s CE school, speaking for so many of those present, said: “it was a valuable experience because I know how much rubbish is scattered around to get into the sea. It’s shocking how much people litter”.
The mother of Layla from All Saints’ CE school said: “It’s lovely to get kids involved in keeping the environment clean and making them aware of the consequences of failing to do so”.
Mia, Kitty, Maya and Andie from Claverham Community College were united in the view that this could make a real impact on Battle and the work they were doing in school was “rewarding and vital”.

Cllr Glenna Favell, the Mayor of Battle, said: “What a privilege it is to join with so many youngsters keenly involved in community service”.
James Bacon, Deputy Mayor of Hastings, who took part on the beach said: “I am thoroughly impressed with the commitment of our young people who are leading the way in learning to tackle climate change. It is an honour to support them”.
Find out more about the Friendship Link and the work it is doing in Hastings, Sierra Leone at our website:
www.Hastingshastings.org.uk/about/
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Sussex Brass Raises £900 to bring water to schools in Hastings.
Hastings Mayor, Cllr. Nigel Sinden, and Deputy, Cllr. James Bacon, joined in with enthusiastic singing of “High we exalt thee, Land of the free”, the National Anthem of Sierra Leone, set the tone for a splendid concert given by Sussex Brass at St Matthew’s Church, Silverhill, on May 24th. Both always show a strong interest in the affairs of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, having themselves taken part in visits to our friends in West Africa and joined fellow Link supporters at the event in St Matthews Church.
Varied styles of music created a fascinating programme of contrasts, from Paul McCartney’s sinister James Bond theme for “Live and Let Die” to Enrico Morriconi’s richly melodic “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the film “The Mission”. Neither can a concert given by Sussex Brass Band end without lusty audience participation in the rendering of “Sussex by the Sea”.
In the interval the audience enjoyed a tasty buffet of West African food prepared and brought from London by members of the Sierra Leone Hastings Association UK.
Roger Mitchell, one of the Link’s school twinning coordinators, explained,
“The purpose of the evening was to raise funds for the Link’s current drive to ensure a water supply and adequate sanitation for all twelve of our partner schools. It is difficult to imagine what it must be like for children and their teachers to attend schools without such basic essentials.”
Roger added,
“The evening raised an amazing £900. With the costs of connecting schools to a water supply varying from £500 (where there is piped water in the neighbourhood) to several thousand pounds where wells or boreholes need to be sunk. So this money will make a significant contribution to the project.”
Members of the Link wish to express their gratitude to everyone who supported the event and donated generously, but would especially like to thank Sussex Brass and the PCC of St Matthew’s Church for their generosity in making this success possible.”
The next event to be organised by the Link will be the annual soccer tournament for schools with partners in Sierra Leone. This is now in its twelfth year and will take place on the Bulverhythe Playing Fields on Tuesday 11th June starting at 1:30pm.
Then, on the 15th June, a party of seven teachers are arriving from Sierra Leone to work for a week with their UK partners – a visit made possible by British Council grants as these schools engage together in projects alerting young people to the consequences and irresponsibility of waste creation and mis-management.
Find out more about the Friendship Link and the work it is doing in Hastings, Sierra Leone at our website:
www.Hastingshastings.org.uk/about/
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Sussex Brass support Schools Sanitation Project Fundraising Campaign
The Campaign to raise funds for the Schools Sanitation Project in Hastings, Sierra Leone will receive a further boost when Sussex Brass play at a concert at St Matthew’s Church, St Matthews Road, St. Leonards on Friday 24th May starting at 7.00 pm.
Richard Homewood, Link Chairman explained: “The Schools Sanitation Project is our latest initiative. Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. In Sierra Leone the lack of these basic facilities in our twinned schools is impacting on their education and their futures.
Children often miss out on education because they spend hours every day collecting water and are exhausted if and when they get to school. Many older girls have to miss school on a regular basis due to the lack of menstrual hygiene facilities. We can help improve the prospects for the future of children in the schools we are twinned with in Hastings, Sierra Leone by ensuring they have a sustainable water supply, good basic sanitation and hygiene facilities.
We have already had a survey of the schools undertaken to establish what facilities they currently have and don’t have. We are now working with the schools to plan how we can improve the facilities and give the children a better chance for the future. The funds raised by the children of All Saints Academy will help as we continue to raise funds to complete the project in all 14 schools”
The Schools Sanitation Project is a major initiative and we need the continuing support of the community here in the Hastings, UK to enable our work to continue. We would be delighted to see everyone there a 7pm on Friday 24th. Sussex Brass always put on an amazing performance and we know from past experience that it will be a truly enjoyable event.”
All funds raised will go directly to support the Schools Sanitation Project and our other projects in Sierra Leone. Tickets are £10 (£5 for students) and can be obtained in advance from our secretary by calling 01424 436603, purchased on line at www.hastingshastings.org.uk or purchased on the door. Refreshments will be provided during the interval.
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All Saints CE Junior Academy students go to extreme effort to raise funds for Twinned Schools in Sierra Leone.

Enthusiastic pupils from All Saints CE Junior Academy students participated in the Hastings Mini Run on March 24th 2019 to raise funds to improve hygiene and sanitation in their twinned schools in Sierra Leone. Seventeen children from across the year groups participated in this event and raised an incredible £1209 for their efforts. They were rewarded with the knowledge that the funds raised would go towards changing lives of children in their twinned schools in Hastings, Sierra Leone.
Mandy Hinxman from the school explained: “The students have been learning about the Friendship Link sanitation project and how our partner schools in Sierra Leone have little to no access to fresh water, toilets and garbage collection. Building on our Connecting Classroom project of Zero Waste, they decided that their chosen charity this year would be The HSLFL sanitation project. “
Mandy went on to say: “We would like to thank also their parents who supported and encouraged their children in this event and for the generosity of all of their sponsors.”
Isabel Hodger, one of the Twinning Programme Managers for the Link added: “We would like to thank the children of All Saints Academy for their hard work fundraising and their generosity. The funds raised will go toward our project to bring fresh water and improve hygiene and sanitation in the twinned schools in Hastings Sierra Leone. ”
Richard Homewood, Link Chairman went on to say: “The Schools Sanitation Project is our latest initiative. Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. In Sierra Leone the lack of these basic facilities in our twinned schools is impacting on their education and their futures. Children often miss out on education because they spend hours every day collecting water and are exhausted if and when they get to school. Many older girls have to miss school on a regular basis due to the lack of menstrual hygiene facilities. We can help improve the prospects for the future of children in the schools we are twinned with in Hastings, Sierra Leone by ensuring they have a sustainable water supply, good basic sanitation and hygiene facilities. We have already had a survey of the schools undertaken to establish what facilities they currently have and don’t have. We are now working with the schools to plan how we can improve the facilities and give the children a better chance for the future. The funds raised by the children of All Saints Academy will help as we continue to raise funds to complete the project in all 14 schools”
People can donate to the project by going on to our website, www.Hastingshastings.org.uk and using the My Donate button.
Find out more about the Friendship Link and the work it is doing in Hastings, Sierra Leone at our website:
www.Hastingshastings.org.uk/about/
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Enthusiastic Battle and Langton Pupils raise funds for Twinned Schools in Sierra Leone!
Enthusiastic pupils from Battle and Langton School handed over a cheque to the Sierra Leone Friendship Link after a hugely successful fundraising campaign before Christmas. The school is one of the recent local schools to join the Link’s School Twinning Programme which is supported by the British Council.
Pupils joined the Mayor of Battle, David Furness to hand over the cheque for £344 to Isabel Hodger and Roger Mitchell who manage the Twinning Programme for the Link.
Izzy Watkins, who with Lilia and Owen Smith is championing the fundraising as members of the International Pupil Council at the school, explained “We held cake sales, quizzes and collected donations from our Christmas events, to raise the funds and we are going to carry on raising funds to help our twinned school in Sierra Leone. We will also be working on a Zero Waste project with the children in Sierra Leone to help improve both our environments”
David Furness, Battle Mayor and a long term supporter of the Link said “I am delighted that a all the local Battle schools have been able to join the twinning programme, it will provide a huge learning opportunity for the children and help them understand more about children’s lives elsewhere in the world including environmental issues”
Isabel Hodger, one of the Twinning Programme Managers for the Link added: “We would like to thank the children of Battle and Langton School for their hard work fundraising and their generosity. The funds raised will go toward our project to bring fresh water and improve hygiene and sanitation in the twinned schools in Hastings Sierra Leone. ”
Richard Homewood, Link Chairman went on to say: “The Schools Sanitation Project is our latest initiative. Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. In Sierra Leone the lack of these basic facilities in our twinned schools is impacting on their education and their futures. Children often miss out on education because they spend hours every day collecting water and are exhausted if and when they get to school. Many older girls have to miss school on a regular basis due to the lack of menstrual hygiene facilities. We can help improve the prospects for the future of children in the schools we are twinned with in Hastings, Sierra Leone by ensuring they have a sustainable water supply, good basic sanitation and hygiene facilities. We have already had a survey of the schools undertaken to establish what facilities they currently have and don’t have. We are now working with the schools to plan how we can improve the facilities and give the children a better chance for the future. The funds raised by the children of Battle and Langton School will help as we continue to raise funds to complete the project in all 14 schools”
People can donate to the project by going on to our website, www.Hastingshastings.org.uk and using the My Donate button .
Find out more about the Friendship Link and the work it is doing in Hastings, Sierra Leone at our website:
www.Hastingshastings.org.uk/about/
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ANGLERS BRAVE WINTER WEATHER TO SUPPORT SIERRA LEONE SCHOOL SANITATION PROJECT
A band of around 15 hardy anglers from the Hastings and St Leonards Angling Association braved the winter weather on Boxing Day in a beach angling competition to help raise funds for the Friendship Link’s Schools Sanitation Project.
Although there were not many fish caught during the morning competition, the anglers raised £200 and Mark and Mandy Hinxman presented the cheque on Saturday at the Association Club House to Richard Homewood and Isabel Hodger of the Friendship Link.
Mark Hinxman explained: “This is a traditional annual event and it gives members the chance to contribute to worthy local charities whilst enjoying some fresh air and a bit of friendly rivalry after the excesses of Christmas Day. We always try to identify a worthy local charity and Mandy has been involved in the twinning links with schools in Hastings Sierra Leone so we thought it would be good to support the Project.”
Richard Homewood, Chairman of the Friendship Link added: “We would like to thank the Hastings and St Leonards Angling Association for their generosity. The funds raised will go toward our project to bring fresh water and improve hygiene and sanitation in the twinned schools in Hastings Sierra Leone. ”
Richard went on to say: “The Schools Sanitation Project is our latest initiative. Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. According to UNICEF, every day, over 800 children die, worldwide, from preventable diseases caused by the lack of these. It is acknowledged that Sub Saharan Africa, which includes Sierra Leone, lags far behind other continents in addressing the problem. In Sierra Leone the lack of these basic facilities in our twinned schools is impacting on their education and their futures. Children often miss out on education because they spend hours every day collecting water and are exhausted if and when they get to school. Many older girls have to miss school on a regular basis due to the lack of menstrual hygiene facilities. Whilst we can’t tackle the problem in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa, we can improve the prospects for the future of children in the schools we are twinned with in Hastings, Sierra Leone by ensuring they have a sustainable water supply, good basic sanitation and hygiene facilities. We have already had a survey of the schools undertaken to establish what facilities they currently have and don’t have. We are now working with the schools to plan how we can improve the facilities and give the children a better chance for the future. The funds raised by the Angling Association will help as we continue to raise funds to complete the project in all 14 schools”
People can donate to the project by going on to our website, www.Hastingshastings.org.uk and using the My Donate button” .
Find out more about the Friendship Link and the work it is doing in Hastings, Sierra Leone at our website:
www.Hastingshastings.org.uk/about/
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Friendship Link Charity Ball a huge success
The Friendship Link’s Schools’ Sanitation Project received a major boost from the Charity Ball on Saturday 3rd November. Over 100 guests raised almost £3,000 as they dined to an amazing classical performance by Jada and Steven Marsh and danced the night away to the music of the renowned local band, the Kytes.
Lynn White, one of the Link Trustees who led the organisation of the event said: “We are delighted by the success of the event and by the amount raised for the Schools’ Sanitation Project. It has exceeded all our expectations. We are extremely grateful to all those people who gave their time making the event such a success or donated prizes for the raffle and auction on the night. Without their support we could not have achieved such a great result”
Richard Homewood, Chairman of the Friendship Link added: “We would also especially like to thank Dani and the team at the Montgomerie Suite for their service and support, and the Kytes and Jada and Steven (who gave their time and skills free of charge) to make the evening such a great success.”
Richard went on to say: “The Schools Sanitation Project is our latest initiative. Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. According to UNICEF, every day, over 800 children die, worldwide, from preventable diseases caused by the lack of these. It is acknowledged that Sub Saharan Africa, which includes Sierra Leone, lags far behind other continents in addressing the problem. In Sierra Leone the lack of these basic facilities in our twinned schools is impacting on their education and their futures. Children often miss out on education because they spend hours every day collecting water and are exhausted if and when they get to school. Many older girls have to miss school on a regular basis due to the lack of menstrual hygiene facilities. Whilst we can’t tackle the problem in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa, we can improve the prospects for the future of children in the schools we are twinned with in Hastings, Sierra Leone by ensuring they have a sustainable water supply, good basic sanitation and hygiene facilities. We have already had a survey of the 14 schools undertaken to establish what facilities they currently have and we are now planning how we can improve the facilities and give the children a better chance for the future. The funds raised at the Charity Ball will help us start the process but we need to raise an estimated £45,000 to complete the project in all 14 schools”
Lynn concluded “We have a lot of work to do to raise more funds but the generosity of our patrons, members and the general public never ceases to amaze me. It is difficult to describe the impact these donations can have on the lives and health of children in Sierra Leone, but believe me, simple things like clean water, good sanitation and hygiene can really change their opportunities for learning and their prospects for the future. A good education is the key to a better future and breaking out of the cycle of poverty. If we can give that gift to just a few hundred children in Hastings, Sierra Leone then we will have had some success. People can still donate to the project by going on to our website, www.Hastingshastings.org.uk and using the My Donate button”
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Grand Charity Ball, 3rd November 2018. Montgomerie Suite, Bannatynes Hotel, The Ridge West, Hastings.

Three years ago the Charity Ball was a huge success and we are holding another due to popular demand. Come along and have a great evening of dining and entertainment with the locally renowned band the Kytes and supporting entertainment.

The Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link is launching a fundraising campaign in support of the Schools Sanitation Project Fund. Funds will be used to improve water supplies and sanitation in its established twinned schools in Sierra Leone and help ensure children of all ages and sexes get a better chance of a good education.
Most of the schools suffer from poor or no water supply and poor sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Chairman of the Link, Richard Homewood, explained that “children are often exhausted by the time they get to school, having had to fetch and carry water before they arrive and during the day. Many older girls have to miss school on a regular basis due to the lack of poor hygiene and sanitation facilities. As a consequence their education suffers.”
Richard went on to emphasise “education is the key to helping these children and their families out of the cycle of poverty and anything we can do to improve their chances of a good education is really important”
The Link has had a survey of the schools carried out to identify what is needed in each school and we are using this to identify the priorities for action in each school.
The funds raised from this year’s Charity Ball will go toward the sanitation fund which currently has a target of £45,000 Further fundraising activities are being planned and we would be delighted if people wish to take part in them or become more involved in the activities of the Link.

Tickets £40 which includes a 3 course meal and glass of bubbly, can be obtained by calling 01424 853356

Don't miss out book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
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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:
www.Hastingshastings.org.uk/about/
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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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Forthcoming events

No forthcoming events.