Community bands together

A teacher has expressed his pride in seeing the a community in north Cumbria come together to donate a “truck load” of clothes for Afghan refugees. Pupils from schools in Cockermouth and further afield got involved in the donation project on August 24. Children from a number of schools, including Fairfield Primary School, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and Bridekirk Dovenby School among others donated clothes, toiletries and electrical items.

Even touching notes with greetings in Afghan languages were included in the aid package for refugees that have fled their country following its takeover by Taliban forces in August. Deputy Headteacher at Fairfield Primary School, Jordan Gale, said: “It’s so lovely that the children have been so directly involved and we’re so proud of the children. “Here at Fairfield we teach the ethos of being involved in the community and we try and prepare the children or life in modern Britain.

“I think a huge part of that is showing sympathy and empathy skills to other people. “When a member of the community got in touch with us to make sure that we were aware of what the kids had done, it really made us overwhelmingly proud. “The kids deserve a lot of recognition for their efforts.

“They gave up a lot of their time for a few days to do this and it was lovely to hear that the kids took quite a proactive an instrumental role within the project. “Their actions and efforts have gone an awful long way to help those less fortunate than themselves.” Since the Taliban completed their takeover of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on August 15 people have been scrambling to flee the country.

Up until August 31 – the deadline for Nato troops to leave Afghanistan – British, US and Nato forces were busy trying to extract as many refugees as they could, including interpreters who had assisted in military operations. Over the next few years, the UK has pledged to resettle up to 20,000 refugees from the country. In August, Cumbria County Council said that they “stand ready” to welcome Afghan refugees into the country when called upon.

Mr Gale added: “They haven’t had any award out of it, but what they have got out of it is the understanding that they have helped other people so much less fortunate than themselves. “They have spent hours on these decorations for the refugees because they knew that these were going to other children who were facing horrific circumstances. “It makes us so proud of our pupils.”

It wasn’t just school pupils that got involved. People from across the community helped drive the project, started by a member of the community who wishes to remain unnamed, forward. The collection at Cockermouth was intended to be the first of a few linked with Manchester and Preston.

However, the collections filled up at the west Cumbrian town.

Tyson H Burridge provided the truck that helped deliver the donations to a collection point in Kendal on August 25.