Cornish businesses have been praised at an evening celebration, after they supported a life-changing volunteering trip to Africa.
Student volunteers from The Cornwall College Group (TCCG) gathered at the St Austell campus to relive their time in Rongai, Kenya.
The Cornwall College Group‘s Volunteer Kenya project was established in 2009 by Lauren and Ross Sundercombe to help provide better education facilities and resources to some of Kenya’s most disadvantaged children and deprived communities.
With the help of individuals and businesses, through hard work and dedicated support, the ongoing aim of the project is to develop the relationship between Cornwall College and Rongai.
Project Lead Lauren, said this year’s trip was “another fantastic success”.
“Ross and myself, alongside Cornwall College, could not be prouder of what the team achieved this year and we are thrilled that we could hold this celebration event to recognise the student’s successes both individually and as a team,” she continued.
“All of the students were dedicated, hardworking and full of energy and determination to achieve their goals. They exceeded themselves and got stuck into life in Rongai, making a lasting, positive impact on the local village.”
Lauren also recognised the generosity and the support of the following local businesses in making the Volunteer Kenya programme a success – Fluid Branding, Colwith Farm, Kittow’s Butchers, Banger Rally Challenge, Penventon Hotel, Marnick Roofing, Cornwall Zinc Roofing, Britannia Inn, Moustache Jacks, Griggs Restaurant, St Michaels Hotel and Spa, Polgooth Inn, Carlyon Bay Golf Club, Healeys Cider Farm, Equilibrium Health and Skin Care, St Pirans Dental Truro, Frankie and Bennies, Nandos, Newquay Aquarium, Plymouth Aquarium, Keay Cakes, Wild Heather Flowers, Tanya Kellett Fitness, The Nail Salon and Beauty Centre, Beautiful Hair Boutique, Beauty by Lucy, Salon K and Koko Hair and Beauty.
After flying out from London, the students landed in Nairobi and travelled on to a volunteer compound in Rongai near Nakuru. From then on, it was a busy schedule of volunteering tasks, including creating a painted educational mural and building a sensory playground for a special needs school. The students also managed to put in some time working at the local nursery St Michaels, which Cornwall College played a part in building and raising funds for in 2011.
17 year old A-level student Paige Bennetts from St Austell is “so proud of every single person in the team” for achieving the goals they set for themselves.
Paige said: “I can honestly say volunteering in Kenya has been the best experience of my life! I have met some of the loveliest and kindest people, and made friendships that will last a lifetime.”
In addition to all the hard work, the students also found some time to enjoy the incredible African culture up close, the highpoint of which was a visit to the The Maasai Mara National Reserve.
For 17 year old student Ashley Gilder from Sticker, who is currently studying Professional Cookery at Cornwall College St Austell, it was an experience he’ll never forget.
“This trip has changed the way I look at life and how I look after everything I have,” he explained.
“It made me realise how lucky I am to have such things and how lucky I am to be living in such a nice place. My perspective on life has changed so much.”
The Volunteer Kenya trip is open to all students studying with TCCG. If you are interested in finding out more about the next trip, please visit www.cornwall.ac.u/kenya or get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org