North Devon volunteers head for the Gambia

Joseph Bulmer

Charity seeking support to get nursery school project under way.

A Barnstaple councillor and eight volunteers are heading to the Gambia on Monday to continue the work of building a nursery school for the poorest of children.

For North Devon businesswoman and councillor Julie Hunt it is her fourth trip to the African country, which has inspired her along with fellow trustees Chaslyn Bryant and Barbara Grimmond to set up the Emmanuel Stepping Stones charity.

So far they have raised more than �5,000 towards building a school for those parents who are too poor and do not have any means of providing their children with any sort of education.

The team heading out this time will include a builder, a carpenter, four nurses and a pharmacist.

They are appealing for a number of donated items such as bandages, light books for nursery age, good condition summer clothes for children plus small lightweight toys for girls or boys as the group plans to host a Christmas Party whilst they are there.

“These children are Gambia’s future and that is why we are helping them - we will never in our lifetime experience the hardship and poorness of what they go through,” said Julie.

“We now have 60 children being taught in two small garages and on this trip we are looking at negotiating a price for the land and building next door to enable us to build this much-needed nursery and pre-school.

“If children are educated they have a better chance of getting a good job and supporting their families when they get older.”

Emmanuel Stepping Stones is seeking sponsorship for the children who attend the school. �10 a month will pay for two uniforms, shoes, education and breakfast.

Anyone who would like to help, either by donating items of sponsoring a child, is asked to email or telephone Julie Hunt on 07909 772458 or (01271) 850423.