Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Minutes of meeting of October 4th

Present: Edwin Rew, Richard Lane, Lynn White, Martin Copland, Roger, Braidie Paton, Isabel Hodger, Mandy Hinxman, Christine Boulton-Lane, Nola McSweeney, Liz McKay, Derek Tomblin (chair), Robin Gray (minutes)

  1. Apologies for absence: Eve Martin, Cllr. Peter Pragnell, Cllr. James Bacon. Richard H was stuck on the M25 and telephoned his apologies. Derek chaired.
  2. Minutes of OGM of 26th July: §3 – Sanitation Group meeting. Nothing much can be done until we find someone on the ground capable of managing the project. Richard H hopes to go over in February, as does Richard L (and Richard White, we learned at the meeting). They will be able to assess the situation close to. No other matters arising.
  3. Chairman’s Report: Not possible in Richard’s absence.
  4. Treasurer’s Report: Martin presented the figures for income & expenditure since the last meeting. He is looking into finding another bank, as the CAF Bank gives so little interest. Although we haven’t yet allocated a specific sum for the Sanitation Project, we have funds in hand and are making it clear (already with the Music Quiz and now the Charity Ball) that we are raising funds for that project. Mandy’s suggestion that we encourage schools to raise funds for their partner school, by offering match funding from the Link, was well received. So that members can see the extent of the sanitation problem for themselves, Isabel will make available the detailed survey, with its figures and photos, on request.
  5. Schools Report: See Annex A. Long discussion of the UoBAT’s withdrawal of its schools from the linking scheme and its refusal to engage with us. There is the possibility that Sedlescombe Primary and St Mary Magdalene Catholic Primary in Bexhill may join us, which will help. We are also approaching St Richards Catholic College (Bexhill). We shall not be able to use St Leonards Academy’s grounds for the football tournament next year, but Teresa Bennett, in another rôle, is hoping to find an alternative. There was some debate as to whether it would be useful, or counter-productive, to go public about the UoBAT decision. The Schools team advised leaving the door open for a possible change of heart at some future date; but meanwhile, we should promote all the positive benefits of the school exchanges. It was agreed that we would send positive articles to the Press (including the Hastings Independent) after the end of the SL teachers’ visit. Perhaps such publicity may elicit the offer of a sports ground for the football tournament.

The new British Council scheme offers £1500 for one two-way teacher-exchange per school. Experience shows that our teachers benefit from working in pairs. Isabel thought that the figure of £1500 might help to part-fund a second teacher. Could the Link also help to finance a second teacher?  The meeting voted on a motion proposed by Edwin, seconded by Martin, to agree in principle (with one abstention, one dissenting vote) to match-fund up to £600 per teacher over the next two years. Christine observed that that makes it even more important for the teachers to support all our fundraising efforts. Roger hoped we could involve the local community more, including groups like Lions Club, Rotary and Round Table. Robin said we would certainly approach major funding streams for the Schools Sanitation Project, once the details were worked out.

We discussed potential problems in paying our consortium coordinator’s emolument, as the number of contributing schools here has gone down; but Martin advised that the situation is manageable for the moment.

Lynn was reassured that Blacklands Primary is still interested: in fact, 2 teachers from Blacklands are hoping to go to SL in 2019.

For the programme for this week’s visit (6th to 13th October), see Annex  B. Please note that you are very welcome to attend the farewell party at Christ Church School on the Friday – but please contact Isabel (isabelandkev@me.com) so that we can let Yvonne know what numbers to cater for.

  1. Health Report: See Annex C. Christine reported on the very satisfactory improvements made to the health centre laboratory. Since medical material and offers of school furniture etc are piling up, Christine will get a shipping quote from another firm and compare it with Rokel’s prices. We hope to be able to ship goods over by the time the February visit takes place.
  2. Fundraising events: (a) Dinner-dance Nov 3rd. We have sold, or had pledges for, 80 to 90 seats. We need about 135 for the evening to be a financial success – at the moment it is in the balance. We have to confirm final figures and pay in full by Monday 15th October, so everyone is asked to make a final push amongst friends, neighbours, work colleagues and fellow parishioners. Bookings (with any dietary requirements such as vegetarian, gluten free) by October 14th latest to Lynn at 01424 853356 or lynnwhi@live.co.uk .

We have some good raffle prizes, though quite a few of these are vouchers: we could do with some more eye-catching items. Again, offers to Lynn. The suggestion that we could sell raffle tickets more widely was not accepted: it was felt that would not be fair on those attending the dance. However, if the dance were not financially viable and did not take place, we could use the prizes as the basis for a town-wide raffle at a later date.

(b) Orange quiz sheet. Robin reported that the quiz sheet (- this year’s theme: Travel & Transport) is ready for its final check. It will be available at the end of the month on paper as usual, but quizzers will also be able to buy it on-line.


  1. AOB. A view of Christine’s & Richard’s house in Fitzjohn Street, Hastings SL can now be seen on Google Maps. Look for a blue roof.


  1. Date of next ordinary general meeting: Thursday 17th January at 6.15 at St Barnabas’ Church, Hoads Wood Road, Hastings. In Richard’s absence, it was decided not to attempt to draw up the proposed calendar for all of next year’s meetings.)


Annex A:   Education Report

Hellos and farewells

Sadly we are saying goodbye to our UoBAT schools at the end of this term, The Baird, Hollington, St Leonards Academy, Dudley and West St Leonards.  Some of these schools have been part of our group for many years and will be sadly missed.

On a brighter note, we welcomed Claverham Community College into the group last term, and have the possibility of 3 other schools lined up to join soon.


Visiting teachers

Six teachers from Sierra Leone have been invited to visit this year accompanied by Francis Mason, and will arrive this Saturday on 6th October.

They are:

Battle and Langton – Cordelia Sannah – Jui Lower

St Leonards Academy – Sylvanus Huggins – Huntingdon Secondary

Battle Abbey Senior School – Christiana Palmer – Kellys

Christ Church CE – Osman Kamara – Kankalay

All Saints CE and Dudley – Jo James Kaindo – Edest

Hollington- Serrah Conteh – Jui Upper


You will notice that three of these schools are UoBAT academies. We are grateful to UoBAT for allowing these visits to go ahead, but it does bring about new problems as the relationship will not be sustained after the visit. This is exercising our brains currently!


There are some events during the week which are open to all members of HSLFL. In particular these include the tour of Hastings on Sunday 7th, starting at 2pm from The Stade and led by Kevin Boorman, and the Farewell event on Friday 12th October at Christ Church CE from 7-9pm.  Please let us know if you would like to come to either of these. Robin will have a copy of the full programme if you wish to see what we are doing for the week. There may be a possibility of a few joining us at other times.


Football Tournament

The withdrawal of UoBAT academies will also affect the football tournament in the future which has always been held at St Leonards Academy. We are currently seeking a new venue, however, Teresa Bennett is still determined to run it as part of her Community Sports Organiser role but will not be allowed to use her own school facilities.


British Council

The new British Council Connecting Classrooms Programme and grant applications are now available.  We have been studying it. It is very different and more complicated than previously. If a grant is obtained it will cover both legs of a reciprocal visit. This has advantages and disadvantages. Currently there are 3 or 4 schools interested in taking part on February 2019.  Working with a small group initially will help us to get to know the process ready for a much larger group on 2020.

There is more emphasis on involving the community beyond the schools and we are wondering how to achieve a stronger community impact.


Annex B:     Sierra Leone Teachers Visit Programme 2018


Date Time           Events

October 6th



Arrive Heathrow

Supper and introductions at hotel


October 7th






Church and/or family time.

Picnic on the pier

Walk around Hastings, including the Old Town, Castle and/or Caves

Evening spent with hosts



October 8th




Day in School

Meal at Mama Putts


October 9th

9.15 -14.30




Workshop at Battle and Langton

Battle Abbey Tour arranged by Kitty

Mayor’s welcome at the Town Hall

Meal at Hotel


October 10th




Day in school

Crazy Golf

Buffet Supper at the home of Allison Baines.


October 11th





Day in School


Stag Pub in All Saints Street – Fish and chips plus Talk

Morris Dancing at All Saints Church Hall


October 12th




Day in School

Afternoon reflection meeting at Hotel

Evening event with London Sierra Leone friends at Christ Church CE.



October 13th






Morning shopping with hosts

Lunch at hotel

Leave hotel

Plane leaves Heathrow





Annex C: Health Report


The Sub-Committee met informally on the 10th September

Since the meeting on the 26th July, Binta Bah, our CHO, reported that the improvements have been made to the water supply.  She reported that she had paid for the roofing and armed with the receipt will collect the materials when the rainy season is over – this was in order to achieve a low price and to keep it safe!

She had met with the Manager of the Laboratory Service with a view to getting the laboratory functioning.  It has been inspected and equipment has been promised.

The doors have been replaced and the tiling of the labour wards has been completed and from the photographs provided – to a high standard

I am pleased to report that at last, the scanner which was provided by Dr. Chris Chinnery, is now in use.  The staff are being trained in its use – at the moment it is overseen by Sallu Lansana

A further £1,000 was send on the 12th September which includes the cost of the extra work on the water connection agreed at the last meeting  and the balance to be used  towards the work to be done after the cessation of the rain.

We have again discussed the sending of the items which have been donated for the Health Centre and our Schools have been offered the opportunity of sending items to their twinned Schools.  It is hoped that this can be done before the end of the year.   It is expected that our next meeting will coincide with the packing and collection of the items to be shipped.


CDB – 4.10.18