December 2014 – Prior Park Prep School Update

Jo Peden gave a talk on Bala at the Acorns assembly to approximately 200 parents to ask parents to think about sponsoring a child; the collection at the end of the Harvest assembly raised over £300.  Warren and Nicky Shute organised bacon butties for a Breakfast for Bala event at the school for parents dropping off their children, raising £163 and this will now become a monthly event on the last Friday of each month.  The Bala Committee will be running two stalls at the PPPS Christmas Fayre, and a cheese and wine event is being planned for parents to find out more about Bala. The headmaster has been highly supportive, pushing He is also in talks with the other schools in the Prior Foundation regarding supporting Bala.

September 2014 – Fete, Open Garden and Sponsored Walk

A great day was had by all at the fete at Kemble Mill, with over £3000 being raised for Bala.  The fete itself raised £1,385, £785 came from a sponsored walk which ended at the fete, and £1,100 from an auction of promises at the fete. Held by kind permission at the beautiful River Thames side home of Simon & Vittoria Thornley.

July 2014 – Bala Charity Ball

The second Bala Charity Ball took place on Friday 4th July and raised nearly £25,000.  This event is hosted by Cotswold Fayre and is largely supported by the food and drink sector.  As well as ongoing farm subsidies as the farm becomes closer to profit, the money went towards another greenhouse for the farm and towards a bore hole.  This is sited at the secondary school, and will provide clean drinking water all year round for Bala and the local community as well as a steady source of income. This money has gone to projects that will enable Bala to raise more of their running costs locally, which is the only sustainable way forward.  Interested in attending/sponsoring the 2016 event?  Email Paul Hargreaves for further details.

March 2014 – Team Visit to Bala

A team of 6 visited Bala in the middle of March, including three people who had never been before: Jan Coleridge, Robin Tyler and Nicola Byatt. Nicola and Robin both work at Cotswold Fayre, the company that raised the money to start the farm via its Charity Ball in 2012. Joining them were Paul Hargreaves and Dorian & Maura Ferninando, all of whom have been several times before. A summary of current developments are as follows:

Area – The Homa Bay area has the highest rate for AIDS,malaria and infant death in Kenya. There are 400 children at the centre, 70{c3f4913e45124c3efe0cb4973bb93fda4d1b4e10f6fefa073b6d8da2282ee2f5} of whom are orphans, 10{c3f4913e45124c3efe0cb4973bb93fda4d1b4e10f6fefa073b6d8da2282ee2f5} are from single parent families and 20{c3f4913e45124c3efe0cb4973bb93fda4d1b4e10f6fefa073b6d8da2282ee2f5} are either paying students or very poor. 120 children are at the secondary school and 280 at the primary school.
Farm - There are now 5 dairy cows and 4 calves, one greenhouse full of tomatoes and a new farm manager (the third within a year!) We are also privileged to have a dairy expert coming in twice a month to oversee the dairy farm, which will become the most profitable aspect. The aim is to have 10 milking cows and the farm is already selling milk to the local community. So needs here are two more greenhouses for tomatoes, which are a good quick, source of income and more dairy cows. The farm is also growing onions and kale. This year’s Charity Ball will raise more money for further development of the farm.
School – The school continues to do well and has very good results. 9-10 students from the secondary school are now at university; others qualified but could not afford to go as they didn’t secure the funding from companies or individuals. One female student is training as an electrical engineer in Turkey, and another exceptional student returned to Bala to teach. At the secondary school a temporary dormitory has been built to replace that destroyed by fire (probably arson by an outsider). Jan taught sewing during the visit which was a great success. In order for this to happen Dorian and Maura spent 3 hours buying a mechanical sewing machine. Maura and Nicola did some life-coaching with the older girls – much more of this is needed.
Money – The Centre debt has been reduced with the help of £10k from the UK, but the current running costs (which have been cut to the bone) are higher than the money we are able to send each month. Most sponsors of children are still giving the £10 per month rather than the £15 per month which is the actual cost. A heartfelt plea to increase your standing orders.
Medical – There is a nurse at the Centre who works 3 days per week and is doing a fantastic job. Again many more resources are needed as there is huge potential to make this area one of blessing to the local community.