Shropshire college’s fundraiser helps school in Ethiopia

A Shropshire college’s new initiative will make a ‘life-changing’ difference to a school more than 8,600 km away.

The toilet block after
The toilet block after

The outreach team at Acton Burnell-based Concord College has raised over £500 in a Valentine’s Day fundraiser which has been used to refurbish the toilet block at Lalibela Primary School in Ethiopia.

This follows a donation of over £3,500 last term when students, staff and alumni virtually pedalled and rowed the 8,600 km to the primary school as a whole-school fundraiser with the money being used to refurbish four classrooms.

In the latest initiative, Concord students surpassed their Valentine’s target of £300, raising over £500 on the outreach’s JustGiving page – and cash donations are still being generously received.

Pastoral assistant Rachel Johnson, who supports the student outreach team, said: “Valentine’s Day at Concord has shown a lot of love and support for the Soil of Amhara Project, as well as one another.

“The outreach team has been working extra hard to raise fantastic amounts of cash this year despite all the extra challenges presented by lockdown and social distancing.

“Outreach is caring and connecting with their community who are all over the world.”

The fundraiser consisted of a hamper raffle, with gifts and goodies in the theme of Valentine’s Day, as well as doughnut sales – including ‘secret admirer’ orders, and ‘cupid matches’.

Ms Johnson added: “It’s a pleasure to support the team. They have brought us altogether to raise money in several safe ways and shared a lot of love around the world on Valentine’s Day.

“They are already working on ideas for fundraising for Comic Relief.”

Co-founder of the Soil of Amhara, Concord’s Steven Cale, of the geography department, added: “The support from the Concord College community has helped to bring an encouragement to those at Lalibela Primary School.

“In addition to previously refurbishing four classrooms through generous donations, the outreach team’s Valentine’s fundraising has raised funds specifically for the girls’ toilets which had suffered from a lack of investment.

“As well as this much needed improvement to the usability and privacy of these 20 toilets, the outside of the block has been painted to improve the whole look of the area.”

Mr Cale was also delighted to announce that the charity was granted official charity status earlier this month.

He added: “Now we have official charity status, this will bring benefits with reclaiming Gift Aid on donations and allow us to encourage more people to join with us in our vision: to release potential and show support to the young people in this beautiful but desperately poor corner of Ethiopia.”

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