Fantastic Donations! And more…………..

Northampton Trustee Fund and the Villagers of Penyem Village, The Gambia woIMG_0012uld like to thank the customers and staff (particularly Sarah Darlow Stearn[Evans]) of Spencer Court News, Corby, for their absolutely brilliant donation of £1005.75. Thank you so much!

This donation follows an equally superb contribution by Eleanor Springham and her friends who recently raised £420 with a coffee morning. Thank you!


The donations will be used for a variety of things, but in particular a new engine will be fitted to the village ambulance . The vehicle is in desperate need of repair. Very soon it will have to be taken out of service. The village had asked NTF to fund a replacement engine. Unfortunately, we had to reject their request as we simply did not have the money. Now, with these donations the ambulance will be given a new lease of life and be able to continue it’s work saving lives! WOW!
On 2 December, Anne and Andrew Butler, Founders of NTF will be travelling to The Gambia to officially name the sponsored classrooms in Penyem Village School. Yet again we have been amazed at the generosity of people here in UK . We hope now to exceed our target of 7 sponsored classrooms! Thank you!
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Classroom sponsorship – another update!

It is now September 2016. Back in May, we started searching for sponsors for the classrooms at Penyem Daycare and Nursery School. Without sponsorship, the school faced closure in 2017, when NTF funding ran out. The previous post explains this in more detail.



We are delighted to announce that we have achieved our target of finding sponsorship for all 7 classrooms. The final piece of the jigsaw was completed last week with the offer of sponsorship from out old friends at Corby Phoenix Rotary Club. So we will have: The Macfarlane Classroom, The Pyke Classroom, The Jill and Bryan Allbut Classroom, The Tricia Crighton Classroom. The Wilson Browne Solicitors Classroom, The Swift/Leese/Holt/Clasby Classroom. The Corby Phoenix Rotary Club Classroom.

The total pledged by these 7 sponsors is £3500 per annum. The total cost of running the school is £7000. NTF will fund the other £3500. However, this is still a drain on our financial resources. Ideally, we would like the school to be fully funded by donations so that NTF’s resources can be directed to developing other projects, particularly the Health Education Programme, which has been suspended due to the funding issues at the school.

There is an 8th classroom that is being developed. This is The ChelseaDSC_0230 Macfarlane and Eleanor Springham Classroom. This classroom needs furniture, blackboard and a TEACHER! Once finished we aim to be able to split the Toddler Class into two halves. I think you will agree that the current class of 83 is too large!

There are also other rooms that can be sponsored such as the School Kitchen, Staff room, Sponsor Relations Office, toilets etc. So we will continue to search for sponsors who will reduce NTF’s outlay of £3500. Please get in touch if you can help!

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Classroom Sponsorship Update.


Andy Butler from NTF and Kevin Rogers of Wilson Brown Solicitors complete the Agreement for for Classroom Sponsorship for 3 years.

In May 2016 we started an appeal for sponsors to contribute £500 per annum to sponsor a classroom in Penyem Day Care and Nursery School. Without your sponsorship the school would face closure in 2017. NTF has already provided £7000 to allow the school to remain open for the school year from September 2016 to August 2017. This funding is a complete drain on our financial resources. We do not have any spare money to develop other projects. Our Health Initiative that started so well in January 2015 has had to be delayed until other funding can be found.

It is now July 2016, and NTF is delighted to announce that 6 classroom sponsors have been found. These sponsors probably do not realise what they have done! Certainly, if any of them were to visit Penyem, they would be mobbed as heroes by the villagers – it means that much! 

At this stage, no money has changed hands! NTF does not actually need the sponsorship until April 2017. However, we would like to recognise the sponsors here on the website. So we will have: The Macfarlane Classroom, The Pyke Classroom, The Jill and Bryan Allbut Classroom, The Tricia Crighton Classroom. The Wilson Browne Solicitors Classroom, The Swift/Leese/Holt/Clasby Classroom.

That is 6…………one more needed please!

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Focus on Amadou Jallow.

Amadou Jallow is a key worker in Penyem and surrounding area. Although he is not directly appointed by NTF he carries out a huge amount of Voluntary work in support of our work in Penyem. He receives no salary from us but whenever we can we help him out with small bonuses and gifts, such as a laptop, suit, shirts etc. We did not really have a full understanding of what Amadou does – so recently I asked him to write down what he does from day to day. This is what he sent to me. I am sure you will agree he is well worth the few perks we give to him!
1a. Saamasang Federation (FORMAL) – COMMUNITY MOBILIZER – DECEMBER 2014 TO DECEMBER 2016 – Sponsor Relations, Community Mobilization, Data Collection, Computer works (internet, words & pictures), Social Work, Home Visits, Training Facilitation, Report Writing. 1b. Saamasang Federation (VOLUNTARY) – Project & Community Volunteer – 2011 TO 2014 – Sponsor Relations, Community Mobilization, Data Collection, Computer works (internet, words & pictures), Social Work.
2a. Penyem Clusters Youth & Children Development Association (VOLUNTARY) – Ass. Secretary General – 2012 TO 2013 – Correspondence, Report writing, Coordinating, Record keeping, Finance Controller, Community Outreach.
2b. Penyem Clusters Youth & Children Development Association (VOLUNTARY) – Public Relations Officer – 2013 TO PRESENT – Correspondence, Project & Report writing, Coordinating, Record keeping, Finance Controller, Community Outreach, Teaching.
3. Saamasang Youth & Children Development Association (VOLUNTARY) – Secretary General – 2013 TO 2014 – Correspondence & Report writing.
 4. Penyem Credit Union (VOLUNTARY) – Secretary – 2014 – Correspondence.
 5. Penyem Youth & Sports Development Committee (VOLUNTARY) – Secretary General – 2013 TO 2016 – Correspondence, Record keeping, Report writing, Coordinating, Football Refereeing.
6a. Peace Ambassadors The Gambia (VOLUNTARY) – Peace Educator – 2014 TO PRESENT – Peace Education & Advocacy.
6b. Peace Ambassadors- The Gambia (VOLUNTARY) – V. Chairperson (West Coast Zone Executive Committee) – 2016 TO PRESENT – Report Writing, Correspondence, Coordination.
7. Penyem Fula Kunda United (VOLUNTARY) – Secretary – 2015 TO PRESENT – Record keeping & Coordination.
8. Penyem Arabic School (VOLUNTARY) – Teacher Volunteer/ Assistant – 2015 TO PRESENT – Teaching. 
AJ2This is a summary of my engagements both formal and voluntary. I am currently working formally for Saamasang Federation as a Community Mobilizer. I was formally employed by Saamasang Federation in December 2014, and my appointment will be ending in December 2016. My employment in the federation will only last for six months from now, which will be on December 31st 2016. I have now started looking for other organisations or places for employment, before the end of December 2016. I previously had formal employment at Saamasang Federation, served the federation from 2011 to 2014 on volunteerism (project and community volunteer). At first, my work as a project and community volunteer was centered mainly on helping children and families that can not write letters to their sponsors, by writing on their behalf through dictation, and as I gain experience, skills and knowledge in Community Development my service for children, youth and communities grew wider.
Amadou Jallow
Despite my current employment, I do more of voluntary works. As you can see above, among all the organisations and associations in which I serve, only one is formal and all the rest are voluntary. I sometimes conduct voluntary activities alone by making presentations on various topics, awarding of deserving students among others. I am deeply into volunteerism, and have dedicated much of my time and resources to helping and serving others. I hope my messages served as a reply to your question. Thanks.




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Penyem Daycare and Nursery School to face closure!

Followers of our work in Penyem will know that over a year ago we took over the full funding of the village Daycare and Nursery School. For the next 12 months we strived to find a sponsor for the school – but with no luck! So, last March we had to give the village notice that the school would have to close, as we are unable to sustain the meagre amount of £7000 per annum to run the school. The school will have to close in July 2018. This prior warning does at least give the village and NTF time to continue to find financial backing.

In May 2016, we wrote to 12 local organisations and groups specifically asking them for help. We have not heard back from these groups.

So now – in June 2016 – we are making it public knowledge, that unless we can find assistance, the school will have to close. Of course, we are not taking this decision lightly. However, the simple facts are that we cannot afford to pay the £7000. We have come up with another plan!DSCN1440

We hope to find sponsors for the 7 classrooms in the school. In an ideal world, it would be 7 individuals contributing £500 each. This would raise £3500. The NTF would fundraise for the other £3500. Alternatively, it could be a group or syndicate who come together to contribute £500 between them. Another way is for individuals to contact us with donations and we would then put them together to make a ‘classroom group’. Naturally we would hope that whichever way, we hope that people are prepared to make an annual commitment.

Below is a copy of the text of an open letter which explains everything. We hope to hear from you! 01604461746. 07812111187

Dear Friends

We are writing to you regarding the work our small charity, Northampton Trustee Fund (NTF), does in The Gambia. In 2004 we set up the charity to support the village of Penyem. Initially, we started by fundraising to supply small individual items such as football kits, school resources etc. Over the years this has developed into funding the village Health Centre, building projects and a sponsorship programme for 100 children.

In 2015, we agreed to take on the full funding of the village Day Care Centre and Nursery School. Whilst we are currently able to do this, the drain on our financial resources is enormous, preventing us from funding any development projects in Penyem. We are unable to sustain this financial support forever. Hence the reason for us writing to you.

It costs £7000 a year to fully fund the school. Two hundred children attend, taught by seven teachers. There is a cleaner and a caretaker. We pay all these salaries and provide the funds for all the materials and maintenance of the buildings. During the last year we have been seeking a sponsor to cover this cost, without luck!

NTF can fund £3500 per annum. There are seven classrooms in the school compound. We are now trying to secure sponsorship for each classroom, that is, £500 per room.

There are a number of ways you could help. Larger organisations may be able to fully fund a classroom (£500). Smaller organisations may be able to fund half (£250), and combine with another organisation. Individual sponsors may decide they can help, but with a smaller donation. Whichever way, we would like to suggest that this is an ongoing annual commitment wherever possible. All sponsors will be recognised in the school with their names on a plaque/notice in ‘their’ classroom.

Please call us to discuss how you could help. We hope to hear from you very soon! In the meantime you can find out more about NTF on our website

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April 2016 Visit.

The Butlers made a flying visit to The Gambia in early April 2016. The intention was to have a few days holiday combined with a day or two in Penyem. This was achieved but also some developments were made in the village. There will be a formal announcement in due course when the detailed plans have been completed. At this stage all we can say is that  some significant changes will be made to the way the village day care and nursery school is funded.

DSCN1457 DSCN1454We were able to see the repairs to the skills centre roof that has been funded by Corby Phoenix Rotary Club. The damage to the roof was seen in our December visit and thanks to the funding supplied Rotary Club it was repaired in time for the rooms to be used for examinations.

Pa Sainey Nyassi.

DSCN1484Pa is a native of Penyem. He runs a successful Juice Bar business on the beach near Senegambia. For many years he has been a popular friend to all NTF visitors. He has never asked for anything in return. It is with great pleasure that NTF wishes to announce that Pa has been added to our team of co-workers. Initially his position is voluntary but will carry some benefits. We welcome Pa in the official role of NTF Communications Officer (The Gambia).

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BBC Look East Covers The Work of NTF

In 2006 BBC Look East covered the work NTF does in Penyem. This short film shows how it all started!

The villagers of Penyem ask me to thank you all!

Posted in Archives

Chelsea and Eleanor’s Story

Two former students of The Kingswood School, Corby decided to take on a huge adventure – to live and work in Penyem for a month. Eleanor Springham and Chelsea MacFarlane were no strangers to The Gambia having visited a ‘tourists’ on a couple of occasions previously. Living in the village was something else! Here is their story……………

On 17th November 2015 we flew out to The Gambia and headed straight to Penyem. We spent 3 weeks living in the village, becoming proper Gambian citizens! We adapted quickly to the different way of life; although at times this was not easy! We found that everything was a lot more difficult than it is in England. For example, going for a shower involves fetching water from the well and showering outside by tipping buckets of water over yourself – a bit different from pushing a button to turn the shower on! Eating rice, rice and even more rice was another thing that we found difficult adapting to. The amount of times we spoke about a McDonalds was ridiculous!

DSCN1378On 1st December we realised that we didn’t have an advent calendar so we improvised…a malaria tablet every morning! Whilst living in the village we learnt lots of new skills. We learnt how to harvest rice, how to milk cows and even how to brick lay! The villagers of Penyem were very keen to show us what they get up to on a day to day basis and we loved being included in everything. We even started speaking in a number of the languages that they speak in the village! A skill that we’ll need to practise for the next time we visit!

Throughout our stay in Penyem, we helped to teach in the local primary school. We found that the children love to learn and participate in the activities – something that would please the children’s sponsors! Although classrooms are a lot more basic than those in the UK, children make the most of what they’ve got. It’s amazing to see how happy they are whilst at school – something that children in the UK often take for granted.

Before we flew out to The Gambia, we held a charity night and raised £830! Amazing! Whilst living in the village we wanted to take on a project using this money. We spoke to Chief Kolley and discussed renovating an old room into a brand new classroom. C & EIn the 3 weeks that we were there, this was achieved. The transformation took a lot of hard work from local people but they never complained once. It was a pleasure to hear just how much people appreciated the transformation. Apparently the room had been untouched for a number of years! Once the rest of the group flew out to join us, the villagers held an opening ceremony for the new classroom. We were overwhelmed to find out that the classroom had been named after us!

Many happy tears were shed! We loved every minute of our stay in Penyem! Every single villager was so welcoming and made the trip a very memorable one for us both. Thank you.

Please feel free to watch our video below:

Posted in 2015

A message from Dawda Bojang.

We have worked with Dawda Bojang for many years. He is social worker , community development practitioner, and a football referee in Penyem. We asked him to put into words his observations of NTF activities and involvement in Penyem. Here is what has written……….


Dawda (on the left) with Chelsea and various family members.

My assignment as promised; My sincere thanks to sponsors through NTF. Rice donation to individual families has gone a long way in complementing the boarding of feeding. We appreciate it so much, it will ever remain to linger in our hearts for and indefinite long period. More grease to your elbows.

I am Dawda, a citizen residing in Penyem village, I am one of the beneficiaries of NTF services, through my sponsored child. Chelsea is sponsoring my son, and happens to lived in harmony for three weeks in penyem village.

Chelsea and Eleanor has acquired learning some phrases in various local languages spoken in Penyem, community norms and values were explored to the fullest.

Chelsea and Eleanor initiative in raising funds to rehabilitate a classroom, shall always be remembered and cherished. Part of their experience attracted high level of socialization, community out reach, learning and sharing of experiences.

Sponsorship is the back bone which attract ed the enrollment of kids into NTF programs, a revenue base for the maintenance and reconstruction of the planned projects and programs for NTFs interventions. This enhances family and sponsors integration in diverse ways.Home visits, Correspondence, exchanges of gifts, sharing of family dreams etc etc.

NTF support in the health sector , before our community Penyem used donkey carts to transport patients/women in labor to reach health facilities, Thank god through NTF this is a thing of the past. Provision of the community ambulance is WOW amazing .

Sports sector became the foundation between Penyem community and NTF partnership. Sports is the mother agency, which gave birth NTF. Thanks to the founders Mr. Andy Buttler and Mr. Abou Camara and the entire board.



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December 2015 visit to Penyem.

DSCN1446On 8 December 2015 a group of 25 set off to The Gambia. It was a nice mix of old and new! Some had visited the previous year. Some had visited a Kingswood School students a few years before and some were visiting for the first time.

A sponsored child modelling uniform donated by Queen Eleanor Primary School.

A sponsored child modelling uniform donated by Queen Eleanor Primary School.

For many this trip was to revisit their sponsored children. However, for two visiting families there was an additional incentive – to meet up with their ‘newly nationalised’ Gambian daughters – Chelsea and Eleanor. (Their visit has already been documented in a previous post). Look out for their story on this website in the near future. 

Our time in The Gambia was split between day visits to Penyem and time in our hotel, fishing, shopping in the markets and various touristy visits. One of our main and most important jobs whilst in Penyem was to interview applicants for our new Bursary fund.

School stationary donated by Chiltern Primary School.

School stationary donated by Chiltern Primary School.

We must remember that to sponsor a cute, young child is fantastic, but we must not forget the older ones, as they are the immediate future of the village. Anne and I interviewed 9 applicants for bursary funding on the Saturday of our trip.

Anne presents a mosquito net to Awa - a Penyem resident. This is one of the many nets funded by Moulton Primary School.

Anne presents a mosquito net to Awa – a Penyem resident. This is one of the many nets funded by Moulton Primary School.

Their applications spanned a large cross section of career paths, including electricians, nursing, law and management. It was probably one of the most difficult jobs we have ever done, as we would have liked to help them all. However, current funding would only allow us to choose two. The successful applicants were Fatoumata Jallow and Babucar Badjan. Congratulations to them!

Other duties were to pay the second 6 months instalment of the school funding and salaries. We still desperately need that sponsor syndicate for the school. The annual cost is £6000!


A photographic montage is shown here which sums up our trip.

Penyem 15 from Andrew Butler on Vimeo.

Posted in 2015

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