£7,000 raised by town children

A DETERMINED group of youngsters has reached its £7,000 charity milestone to build a kitchen at a school in a third-world country.

Forty youngsters from Hartlepool’s Youth Action Group (YAG) have worked tirelessly over the last four years to rake in the pennies.

The 12 to 18-year-olds have taken part in sponsored walks, pie and pea suppers, bingo nights, race nights and summer barbecues with musicians for entertainment.

And after finally reaching their massive total, the children – who all attend English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Catcote Road – are delighted to announce that a school kitchen will be built for children living in Balaka, Malawi, in central Africa, through an international charity called Mary’s Meals.

Jeremy Cain, Hartlepool’s pastoral area youth ministry co-ordinator, who helped organise the fundraising, said: “We’ve had 40 kids involved over the four years, for example a few might help out at one event and a few help out at another.

“They have worked together with a number of adults and come up with a variety of different fundraising events to raise money for this kitchen which will be attached to a school in Malawi.

“They’ve all worked incredibly hard and we reached the £7,000 total at our last barbecue at the beginning of July.”

He added: “We’ve handed the money over to the charity, Mary’s Meals, as we’ve gone along.

“The kitchen will be attached to the school and it means that not only do the children there get a meal every day, they get an education as well.

“They will be enticed to go to school for the meal and then they also stay for schooling so with an education they’ve got a better chance to get out of the poverty that they’re in.”

The YAG youngsters come from Hartlepool’s catholic parishes of St Mary’s Church, on the Headland, St John Vianney’s Church, in King Oswy Drive, and St Thomas More’s Church, in Easington Road.

Abeer Macintyre, head of supporter care at Mary’s Meals, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the Youth Action Group have completed their fundraising, through our Sponsor A School initiative, to build a kitchen shelter in Malawi. This new kitchen will allow Mary’s Meals, which currently feeds more than 650,000 children every school day in 16 countries, to reach many more hungry kids.

“Ours is a simple idea that works: By providing one daily meal in a place of education, we attract chronically poor children to the classroom, where they receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty. The fun and interesting ways people find to support our work never fails to amaze and inspire us, and we’re incredibly grateful to Hartlepool’s YAG youngsters for all their hard work and support.”