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Academy forms overseas link

Students at Berwick Academy are preparing themselves for the ultimate challenge in 2013.

Forget self and living the comfortable life in the UK – these young people are actively preparing themselves for “Berwick Academy Africa 2013”, and a partnership with a school community in South Africa.

Their work will provide the basis for exciting challenges in preparing the ground for the project, as well as funding their visit – where they will work for children of their partnership school community.

Bob Creswell, who is organising the challenge, said: “South Africa has the most unequal society on earth. While the nation is striving to emerge from its troubled past, many communities continue to face extremely challenging circumstances.

“Working with fantastically rooted community organisations in Port Elizabeth, Berwick Academy are in partnership to meet some of these challenges and in so doing, begin their own journey of discovery.”

Already students have been baking and delivering cards to raise the necessary cash. Valentine’s Day festivities took the form of a ‘Valentine Rose’ delivery service and a band night disco last Friday in the Library Arts Centre. Funds were bolstered by another £280.

Last weekend they were also down at GSD Motors in almost freezing conditions, washing cars. The six students and three staff worked tirelessly to raise £260.

Tired and damp though they were, they still wish to thank all those who came with their cars; some in greater need of a wash than others!  Borders Radio, Halfords, Glenord Graphics and Unipart lent a hand too.

The next For Africa car wash is on Saturday, February 25 at the same venue – GSD Motors on the Ramparts Business Park. Bob, who teaches maths at the Academy, added: “Our plans for this half term include bag packs at Asda on March 3 and Co-op on March 31, an Easter egg hunt and Easter raffle, plus bake sales within the Academy.”

It is clear that a lack of nutrition significantly impairs learning so once partnered with a suitable school, students will work on a rain water harvesting scheme and create a food garden with crops and trees.

Bob said: “Our intention is to form a sustainable partnership link between Berwick Academy, and the wider community of Berwick, with a similar school and its community in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

“Once linked with our chosen school, we plan our initial two week visit in the summer of 2013, when we hope to complete their chosen project.

“Our longer term aim is to further develop this partnership with enhanced environmental improvements, educational and sporting enrichment activities.”

The Academy students from Years 9 to 13 who have applied to be involved in the project have stated that they expect it to help them appreciate how fortunate they are living and learning in the UK. It will also be an experience they will keep with them throughout their lives.

The Academy team are looking for community support wherever it can be found, and they are asking if you or your company or group could offer support to the partnership.

If so, Bob asks you to e-mail him at: bob.cresswell@northumberland.gov.uk. He also asks you to bring along your dirty car on the 25th!

 

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