Kind-hearted staff and pre-schoolers from a Colne nursery have thrown their weight behind a project to help families living in Kenya slums.
Newtown Nursery School is backing the project of Lancashire County Council early years inclusion teacher Louise Heppleston.
In her holidays, Louise visits Kibera, where she set up Friends of Guiding Light to provide nursery care for children of single mums. This allows the parents to complete their basic education, breaking the cycle of poverty, and providing somewhere to play that is not an open sewer.
Her programme has earned the support of the West Street Nursery and Early Years Centre, who have donated toys and taken on their own fund-raising ventures. Most recently, two staff members have walked the entire Pendle Way, while children have taken part in their own sponsored walk.
Although a total has not yet been confirmed, the money raised from the events will be put towards items, including furniture, extra blankets, a mattress, and a CD player.
Louise (50), who specialises in autistic spectrum disorders, said: “In Lancashire, we really care about our children and have some really outstanding nurseries, with amazing staff and children who love to play and learn.
“The kids in the slums have absolutely nothing – no toys, no sanitation and often no food. We are the only way they will ever be able to have a safe place to play and enough food to see them through to another day.
“Newtown Nursery and pre-school in Colne have provided great support. They gave me lots of toys to take out last summer, donated by their parents, which means children who have actually never seen a doll or a toy car get to play with them every day. The money we send regularly pays for the rent, salaries for the two staff who look after the children, and food for everyone.”
Lyn Rider, headteacher at the nursery, said: “The children from the nursery did three laps of the nursery grounds, and the early years children did one lap.
“When we get children with additional needs, we get support from the authority, and Louise will work with them.
“What she is doing is for a really good cause. On the walk, we wore red, green and black for the Kenya flag and the children were singing as they walked around - it was amazing.”
And teaching assistant Louise Garnett, one of the staff members to take on the arduous Pendle Way challenge, added: “It took us 20 hours to complete. We are pleased with ourselves and proud we have done it.
“Louise is absolutely thrilled to bits, and she joined us for part of the way. We think we have raised at least £500 and we also have a JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/louise-garnett”
To make a donation to Friends of Guiding Light visit www.justgiving.com/friendsofguidinglight