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Northampton Trustee Fund (NTF) was founded by Northampton teachers Andy and Anne Butler in 2004.
Later in the year Andy returned to The Gambia and visited the village. What struck Andy was the enthusiasm of the villagers to help themselves, but the lack of resources to do so. The Charity became registered and fundraising started towards a four wheel drive vehicle the village could use as a community vehicle/ambulance. The vehicle was purchased soon after and was still operating until recently. A replacement was purchased in 2014.
The main strand of the fundraising has been Education.
Close to 100 children are sponsored, not just to go to school, but uniforms are provided, as are social and health care. Huge amounts of educational materials have been provided, which are now housed in a two classroom extension to the school which was opened in 2012.
In 2012/13, a new toilet block was constructed with eight children’s toilets and a staff shower and toilet annex. There have been many other projects – too many to mention here – but the other main project has been in Health Care.
In 2011, a building was renovated to become the Penyem Health Centre. There is a full time doctor paid for by the Charity. Drugs and medicines have been funded and so the centre is now self sufficient. A Health Assistant will soon start a full time training programme, funded by a Northamptonshire company.
The main objective is the sustainability of all the projects. Whilst funding is always required, generally speaking the villagers are able to maintain the momentum of all the projects. The greatest challenge to NTF has been the provision of the most vital, natural resource – water. The village had a system that failed. In 2008, we achieved the completion of the renovation of the fresh water system, which allows all the villagers access to clean running water.
NTF could not achieve this success without the support of many partners. UK businesses, Northamptonshire schools, clubs and societies, individual sponsors worldwide, have all contributed towards the success of NTF.
Jason Hipkiss, a former Kingswood student, kindly compiled a video when he was with us in the Gambia in December 2015. The video shows just a little of what the Northampton Trustee Fund do on our visits to Penyem village. Thank you Jason, your video is much appreciated!