Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Waiting for the Boat to Come in to Gambia; Containers from North Schools Set Sail

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Waiting for the Boat to Come in to Gambia; Containers from North Schools Set Sail

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicola Weatherall ? 0191 204 3308 ?

CHILDREN from a disadvantaged African community are to benefit from a whole host of North East goodies - when the boat comes in.

For almost 11 years, Atkinson House School in Seghill, Northumberland, which caters for pupils with social, emotional and behavioural problems, has supported the development of a nursery in Gambia.

The partnership began as a building project to create the nursery from scratch for the young children living in the village of Busumbala.

Over the years, the project has grown in size and significance, with Atkinson House joining forces with Ashfield Nursery School in Newcastle's West End to increase fundraising efforts.

Additionally, community groups such as West Moor Residents' Association in North Tyneside and businesses, including Cramlington Window Cleaning Services, have also been happy to lend a hand. The latest effort has led to a whole ship container being filled with educational resources, from stationery to computers, clothes and toys, plus practical items such as sewing machines and ceiling fans.

The container, which was supplied by Middlesbrough-based freight organisation Logical Link Solutions, is due to arrive in Gambia next month. Atkinson House's deputy headteacher Phil Forster said: "The partnership with Gambia came about when our former deputy head was in the country for a bird-watching holiday and happened to start chatting with the locals about their need for a nursery school.

"After that, we started fundraising to support the actual build of the nursery and to pay for the teaching and support staff to run the school.

"We've had a number of fundraising efforts over the years, with people doing the coast-to-coast cycle ride and other sponsored events.

"About two years ago, we teamed up with Ashfield Nursery in Newcastle, which has been instrumental in developing the new build's nursery curriculum as well as supporting the fundraising efforts. …

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