The following article was published in “Read This … magazine Issue 17 Sept 2022
A Banbury Rotarian has raised a “Third of a Million” pounds for Sierra Leone projects
Alan Wolstencroft, a member of Banbury Rotary Club since 2004, first went to Sierra Leone in 2005 as a volunteer member of a Rotary Mission Challenge team, with the Charity Mercy Ships, believing it would be a “one off life experience” For Alan, the eleven days he spent in Freetown were life changing and he has now visited the country twelve times.
On his second trip in 2006, he visited a school where the upper juniors were being taught under the trees, as they had run out of classroom space. Alan and members of his team donated some personal funds to enable the school to start to build a classroom, and once back in the UK Alan fundraised to enable the completion of the work. When he returned to the school on his third trip, in 2007, he made a pledge that he would work with the school community in order to build 6 additional classrooms, and this was the start of Alan’s Africa projects, which has since been adopted as an approved project of Banbury Rotary Club.
Nigel Yeadon, President of Banbury Rotary Club said “although this is a Club approved project, which the Club supports, Alan is the driving force behind everything that has been achieved and truly Alan is the Champion of the Alan’s Africa project”.
Over the years Alan has fundraised to support eight different schools, and his work includes:
Building and furnishing 39 classrooms – 21 of these with water harvesting systems, and 9 with electricity.
Sunk 3 wells and fully refurbished another 3.
Supporting Momoh, a wheelchair-bound teenager, for a number of years and in 2021, when he and his carer were evicted from their dwelling, he funded the building and furnishing a small home for them, on a piece of land gifted by their local community.
One of the schools he visited was housed in a small church hall but a new school has now been built within its own compound, comprising 6 classrooms, 2 toilet blocks and, a water well, with another 2 classrooms planned for later this year. In recognition of this, in 2016 the school chose to re-name itself the Banbury International Community School.
Additional projects include working with a network of supporters in the UK, providing school uniforms, sports kit, school stationery items and sanitary products for girls who would otherwise not attend school and involving Oxford United in supporting a local community football club. Support comes from individuals, businesses, sports clubs, schools, Rotary clubs, charitable trusts and Wl groups.
Alan has just passed the THIRD OF A MILLION POUND mark and is continuing his work to “Make A Real Difference” to communities in Sierra Leone. He is currently working on a project to complete two classrooms to add to the two classrooms and a toilet block he has funded since the start of February this year.
EVERY £ raised goes directly to the projects