Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Minutes of Link meeting of 30th Jan 2020

Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Minutes of Ordinary General Meeting of 30th January 2020

Present:  Nola McSweeney, Anne Brooks, Richard Lane, Christine Boulton-Lane, Lynn White, Isabel Hodger, Roger Mitchell, Paul Cabban, Ray Keene, Richard Homewood (chair), Robin Gray (minutes)

  1. Apologies for absence: Edwin Rew, Liz MacKay, Cllr James Bacon, Derek Tomblin, Mandy Hinxman, Martin Copland, David Lewis
  2. Minutes of meeting of 21st The minutes were agreed.
  3. Chairman’s Report (Sanitation Project up-date): Richard has been in contact with Sam French, Mohamed Koroma (who is now with SL governmental waste-management department), the Headman, and Cecil Coker (who informs us that the chair of the local water committee is Mr Sam Williams, a retired headteacher whom we know).                                                                                                   St Mulumba and Kankaylay now have a water tower, tank etc in place; money has been sent to REC Hastings; and money is about to be sent to Jui Upper.  (We would still like to know if Jui Lower can be connected to the same supply as the nearby Police Academy.). In February, Richard will talk to M.Koroma about toilets; and Isabel hopes to contact the author of our WASH report.                                                                                                                                                           There was a brief discussion about our position vis-à-vis the sanitation needs of the schools in the Hastings area that are not part of our partnership scheme. For the moment we’ll have to give priority to our partner schools. (Christine has observed that the water system is fragile because pipes have not been buried deep enough and are easily broken.)
  4. Treasurer’s Report: Richard spoke to the documents Martin had sent: the latest summary of income/ expenditure, and the overview of funds allocated /committed. The recent bill from Rokel for about £990 for shipping out the donated chairs, tables etc did not appear to figure in the summary. (At the last Trustees’ Meeting, it was agreed that we need to look extremely carefully in future at the balance between shipping donated goods to SL and purchasing goods in SL.) Our position is relatively healthy, but it was agreed that once it has become clearer, after the February trip, what the remaining partner schools’ sanitation needs are and estimates have been obtained, then we can decide on how to apportion our funds between the current projects. Roger: It would be useful if we could find out which other NGO’s/ charities are working in the area, to avoid duplication.
  5. Schools Report: Isabel presented the trip programme (see below, Annex A) and her report (Annex B). Francis has worked very hard on our behalf and will be providing the transport. The teachers will take the safeguarding policy with them and will review it on their return in the light of the practical reality of the SL classroom situation.                                                                             Battle Horticultural Society is donating £200 to be spent on seeds. Roger and Isabel will discuss with the headteachers (and David with smallholders) who can best make use of this money for seeds, and where to source them from.
  6. Health Report: Christine presented ideas for urgently needed triage and isolation units, together with detailed estimates of cost. Richard will take measurements and make sure we understand the best way to achieve what is needed. For the moment, Christine will take out enough money for a number of smaller costs we know we want to cover. With the possibility of Coronavirus in mind, the group will take hand sanitizers and baby wipes with them, and Christine may source masks from the Conquest.
  7. Livelihoods: Richard presented a paper David Lewis had sent (see Annex C), outlining the kinds of meetings David hopes to have during the February trip, when he familiarises himself with the present employment situation in the village and looks at possibilities for developing job opportunities. Roger will try to get his contacts in SL to prepare data on post-school employment patterns in advance of David’s visit.
  8. Events and fundraising:

Richard has written to Hastings Direct about possible sponsorship, and will follow this up when he returns from SL.

  • March 27th: Big Quiz Night. Please book tables through Nola (nolaandjim@talktalk.net), and think about raffle prizes.
  • We have been offered a table at the monthly Indoor Boot Fair in April at the Hastings Centre (opposite The Conquest), and will be the charity named as beneficiary for the session. Details to follow.
  • September 18th: Music Quiz. Details to follow.
  • June/ July: Very likely there will be a wine-tasting evening. Date to be fixed.
  • Unlikely that the suggested dinner at South Coast College will take place in the foreseeable future.
  • We are working on a concert, probably in the early Summer
  • We have been given the chance to shake collection buckets in the street during the Bonfire Night Procession on October 10th. Volunteers will be needed.
  1. AOB:   (i) Richard(Lane)’s sister has kindly offered us 4 laptops. They will go out in February, and  Richard will use one while he is there.

(ii) Christine urges that we seriously address the problem of storage space for medical supplies etc that we are acquiring. Any ideas/offers, please.

  1. Date of next meeting: March 26th at 7pm St Barnabas Church, Hoads Wood Road, Hastings.

Annex A:

Sierra Leone Visit February 2020 Draft Programme

Date Morning Afternoon Evening
Friday 14th 2.30? Pick up from Falaise Road

247247 coaches

6.50 Leave Heathrow- Brussels Air

Risk assessments for day

8.55 Arrive Brussels

12.05 Leave Brussels

17.45 Arrive Lungi, Sierra Leone

Travel to hotel by coach

Buffet supper (arranged by Yvonne)



Saturday 15th Risk assessments for visit

11.00 Tour of Hastings + lunch

Rest at Hotel
Sunday 16th Church, Lunch, Beach

Or Church, beach, food


Monday 17th Teachers in schools

9.00 – 11.15 Headteachers Meeting at Twin Town Centre

Isabel, Richard H, Richard L, David



11.30 – 16.00 Workshop for new teachers at Twin Town Centre – (Headteachers are welcome to stay)

Isabel, Letitia + June visitors (Clara, Sia, Trevina, Emilia, Patricia, Bernadette)


Meal at hotel, rest and relax!

Tuesday 18th 9.00 – 15.00

Workshop at Jui Upper

All UK teachers and their SL partners.  Other teachers (who have previously attended a workshop) welcome, up to 50 in total.



16.00 Chimpanzee Sanctuary


18.00 Francis’s BBQ


Wednesday 19th Teachers in schools

Isabel and David visiting schools – Kelly’s, Huntingdon Jui, Huntingdon Allentown


Group 1 Cooking lesson with Francis

Group 2 Relax at Hotel

Thursday 20th Teachers in schools

Isabel visiting schools – St Mulumba, Kankalay, Christ Standard, Glory

Group 2 Cooking lesson with Francis

Group 1 Relax at Hotel

Friday 21th 9.00 Reflection Meeting – Twin Town Centre

All UK teachers and their partners


11.00 IPC – Twin Town Centre


Community Celebration
Saturday 22th 10.30 Tour of Freetown, shopping, Museum, entertain partners to meal at Cube or another restaurant


Sunday 23th Choose between either – Visit to Port Loko to see Francis’s school, charity and tour of the town

Or – Guided tour of Jui followed by second beach visit


Monday 24th Pack

Risk assessments for return journey

Invite partners to hotel for coffee and snacks to say goodbye


12.00ish Leave Hotel

Boat crossing over the Estuary

19.40 Leave Lungi


Tuesday 25th


5.10 Arrive Brussels

9.40 Leave Amsterdam

10.05 Arrive Heathrow

Early Afternoon Arrive Falaise Road

247247 coaches



  Annex B. Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link  Education Report. 30th January 2020

2020 visit to Sierra Leone

This will take place from 14th to 25th February.  There are 23 people travelling this time, 18 teachers and 5 representing HSLFL. We are staying in Fat Lee Hotel in Allentown.  We have a full programme for the 10 days. The 5 weekdays will be spent on educational activities including workshops for teachers, time in our schools, an IPC meeting and a Community Celebration of our British Council Zero Waste projects. We will also experience social events with our Sierra Leone partners and the local community, an African cooking lesson with Francis Mason, a trip to Freetown, a trip to the beach, and a visit to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary.  Detailed plans are being made, along with important documents to read, eg Risk Assessments and our Draft Safeguarding Policy. We will be leaving Falaise at 1.30am on Friday 14th February if anyone wants to be there to wave us off!!!

2020 Reciprocal Visit

It was agreed at the last Teacher Meeting that this would take place in June 2020, in the second week of Term 6. We are hoping that the Soccer Tournament will take place that week and we also hope to put on a Community Celebration event, possibly at the same time.  Isabel will be visiting schools and finalizing the list of teachers during the February visit.

British Council Training

17 staff received their British Council Global Teacher Award at the Teacher’s meeting last week. Well done everyone.  We will continue our training schedule in Terms 5 and 6.

Zero Waste Project

All our 27 schools are actively engaged in working on this project wherever they are. Lots of different ways to ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ are being trialled and we discuss these at our meeting. We are pleased that we could contribute to the progress on Richard Homewood’s Sanitation Project document. Our Sierra Leone colleagues have held a Community Celebration marching through Jui and Hastings to mark the work they do and the progress they have made to improve their environment.  There are plans to hold a Community Celebration at the end of the week in Sierra Leone, where we will display posters produced by our children to be judged by our SL colleagues. We are hoping to invite some local dignitaries and members of the British Council in Freetown

International Pupil Council

The latest meeting of the International School Council took place on 21st January at the same time as the HSLFL Teacher Meeting.  This seemed to work well and we may continue this pattern in the future.  Mandy Hinxman will report on the latest outcomes.


At Battle and Langton School, one lovely family decided to give their teachers a Christmas present of a donation of £50 towards the Sanitation Project, rather than boxes of chocolates. We thought this was a brilliant idea and hope it will spread to other families and schools.

Annex C:

HSLFL Visit to Hastings (SL). February 2020

Project: Creating Livelihoods

Purpose of the Visit

To understand Hastings, what makes it tick?
To identify opportunities for employment and develop sustainable businesses.
To identify potential future partnerships which will help achieve Project objectives. By:-

  • Meeting people (civic officials, politicians, government employees, teachers, business owners and employers, working people, unemployed people, other influencers and stakeholders etc…).
  • Visiting and getting to know the places/geography (Health Centre, Twin Town Community Centre, Library, schools, markets and shops, hotels and bars, houses and homes etc..)
  • Investigating Areas of Opportunity for Employment (traditional industries, Fishing, Forestry, Mining and Agriculture) and grass roots (Crafts, Sewing, Shoes/ Sandals, Farming and Food, Livestock, Iron-work/ Welding, Carpentry and Building Skills).
  • Investigating opportunities for Vocational Training through visiting schools, institutes, Development NGOs and local charities (e.g. CCACO, BOB and CODEP).

David Lewis 28/01/20