Category Archive: News

  1. Cotswold Fayre’s Summer Ball – July 2022

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    Cotswold Fayre, Paul’s business, has been supporting the Bala Children’s Centre since 2011 when he first went to Kenya with his daughter, Megan. After a 4-year gap, due to Covid Cotswold Fayre hosted its 5th Summer Ball for customers and suppliers within the speciality food sector in July 2022. 

    We were pleased to yet again raise a total of nearly £25,000 – 80% of which was donated to the Bala Children’s Centre, which went to build new classrooms and contribute to a new admin building which was destroyed in a storm earlier that year  The other 20% of the money raised went to a local charity called the Cowshed in the Reading area. 

    There was fabulous entertainment with a live band and magician and it was good to remind all 225 attendees that we are very privileged to live the lives we do with most people in the world being considerably worse off.

  2. Paul’s Most Recent Visit to the Centre in July 2022

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    At the end of July, I visited the Bala Children’s Centre to assess the latest situation and work out the best use of the money raised at Cotswold Fayre Summer Ball and other fund-raising throughout the previous year.  Usually visiting at least once a year it was my first trip since our Summer Ball in 2018 due to Covid and publishing a book in 2019, which postponed my trip that year.

    It was good to see three new classrooms and an admin block had been built since my last visit, largely with money raised over the past few years.  If you remember the previous admin block had been blown down in a hurricane and several of you made contributions to its re-building – thank you!  The children and workers there were in extremely good spirits despite the difficulties of Covid and ongoing issues with malaria. 
    The main requirement remains to continuing to renovate both the schools as the older classrooms are in a terribly state of repair and I also put some of the money towards building a new dormitory for the boys at the secondary school, who were sleeping in terribly cramped conditions.  Whilst there I also implemented an up-to-date Safeguarding Policy (the existing one was out-of-date) and ensured that everyone on site was fully aware of best practice in this area.
    Next trip will be either Spring or Summer 2023.

  3. Bala Garden Fete – September 3rd 2022

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    We held our annual Summer Fete on 3rd September in the beautiful gardens of Barton Farm, Siddington. Despite some rain just as we were setting up & less people coming than last year, it was our most successful one ever, making about £8,500. This year 10% of the money will go to the Ukraine & the rest to the Bala Children’s Centre.

    We can send all the money, because as usual, everything sold was given & we are very grateful to the generosity of those who gave Auction Promises, cakes, everything for the barbecue, books, clothes, prizes, donations.  Thank you so much too to the small army of people who manned the stalls, brought vintage cars, ran the games, helped set up & take it all down.

  4. Paul Hargreaves explains why his company supports Bala Children’s Centre

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    I first became involved in the Bala Children’s Centre as, when my company was finally making a profit, we wanted to give some of that back to people not as fortunate as ourselves.  We wanted to find somewhere that my team of 40 could relate to, and be involved in, rather than just a charity that wanted our money.

    The Bala Children’s Centre proved to be that place.  Staff, suppliers and customers could easily see a clear need of feeding and educating children (predominantly orphans) in Kenya, and there was also the option for them to go and work there for a week or two, which some have done.

    As a company the money we raise has to go towards sustainable agri-businesses which we have set up, as income-generating projects are the only real way forward in what is a very poor part of Africa.