CREATING NEW BEGINNINGS
FIRST QUARTERLY BULLETIN (07 MARCH 2014)
Old premises acquired & Renovation works
In March 2013 Creating New Beginnings was given a run-down premises for a 10 year tenure (rent free for 1 year – expiring in April 2014) see below. Thus in April 2013 work was began to renovate and refurbish the premises into the special needs school:
In this first Bulletin, we would like to take the opportunity to say a big thank you to everybody who took the time to attend our first-ever Fish & Chips Quiz night in May and the subsequent one in September and made it such a success. One hundred and thirty people attended in total at both sessions and the feedback has been very positive. The fantastic Quiz Master for both events, Mr David O’Farrell ensured the days were a mixture of laughter, team work and a total of £1,300 was raised.
Claire Henshaw of Brent Autistic Outreach Team (BAOT) led in raising the awareness of the various schools in Brent to what Creating New Beginnings was trying to achieve in Ghana and donations of old school equipment flooded in for the school. Together with Bonnie Burkell, they planned the school’s curriculum and helped with the general designing of the Ghana school aptly named Woodfield Manor School.
The head teachers of Manor School, Woodfield School and Village School, all special needs schools in Brent threw their weight behind the project and supported us in diverse ways, thus the aptly named Woodfield Manor Special Needs School, Ghana.
We would like to say a big thank you to all those who have been and continue to support us particularly St Margaret Clitherow for adopting the Ghana school as its 40 years celebration project and raising £550 for the school to have a functional kitchen, Brent Council, Natwest Bank, Body Shop, Asda, Tesco and Friends of St Margaret Clitherow who in diverse ways have made it possible for the school to be set up for these disadvantaged children. One of the key objectives of this Bulletin is to ensure people understand the diverse range of interventions in place for the children, how the school is getting on and KPI updates. Your inputs have made all this possible.
Container shipment and clearing
Donations and equipment received were shipped to Ghana on 13th August 2013 in time for the school's opening on 30th September 2013.
With helpers on hand the school was equipped with all the furniture and equipment to enable it open for operations on 30th September.
Composition of Staff
The following staff have been recruited for the school and are on the payroll:
1 Project Co-ordinator / Lead teacher
1 Speech and Language Therapist
1 Physio Therapist
1 Care Giver
1 Day Security man
1 Night Security man
Inspection of School by Ghana Education Service and Social Welfare
Once the decision was made to establish a special needs school in Ghana, the authorities, Ghana Education Service was informed. They carried out an inspection of the school and outlined what they required us to have in place. Once they were satisfied all requirements had been met, the school was registered by the Education Authority. A similar procedure took place with the department of Social Welfare for the Municipal Area and they also gave approval for the school and registered the establishment.
Official Opening of Woodfield Manor Special Needs School
The Founder, Cornelia Boateng, recruited teachers and volunteers conducted the official opening of Woodfield Manor Special needs School on 30th September 2013 by erecting signposting to the school by the side of the main Dodowa Road.
Albeit there was no cutting of sod, Mr Ghansah, the Deputy Director of Special Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service and colleagues were in attendance and very impressed with the unit. Also in attendance were staff from the Department of Social Welfare and parents who wanted to know first hand what the school was offering.
Apart from the establishment of the school to meet the needs of the disadvantaged children, the other objective of Creating New Beginnings is to create public awareness of what causes autism and not to succumb to superstitious belief that autistic children were cursed and therefore to be neglected.
In October 2013 Cornelia was interviewed on Peace FM, one of Ghana's popular radio stations with global presence where she explained the triad of impairment that causes autism and advised on coping strategies for parents. This opened a floodgate of calls as her number was given out and she spent many a time encouraging parents and explaining aspects of learning disabilities to them.
In February 2014, Cornelia was again invited to be interviewed on Oman FM, another popular station serving the community within which the school is situated. Callers applauded the great work being done by the school and advised parents not to hide these children any longer but get them the assistance and education that will enable them to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to society/ There were a few tears by some callers. It was an overwhelming experience.
The school currently has space for 30 children with potential to expand to 100. There are 15 on the roll. 8 of whom attend school on regular basis with the other 7 coming in as and when. Donations are being sought to get a school bus so all the children can come to school everyday.
We are still convincing parents that these children should not be abandoned as they are intelligent children who can contribute to society once their potential is untapped.
Of the 15 children on the roll, their age range from 6 years - 15 years.
A breakdown of the different difficulties the children have and the number of children affected:-
The Childrens' difficulties are: Of the 15 how many have
Autism, Learning Difficulties and Cerebral Palsy 15
Communication difficulties 13
Some speech (echolalia) 2
Mobility difficulties 10
Toilet training 7
Sensory difficulties 12
The activities taught weekly to enable children overcome the difficulties are:-
Requesting for basic needs e.g. water, toilet, food using PECS ICT
Swimming/ water therapy Maths
Speech and Language Therapy English
Physio Therapy Religious Education
Music and Dance Therapy Geography
PSHE (includes Toilet training) Gross Motor Skills/ Fine Motor Skills
Training has been delivered to the staff to make them more able to deal with the complex nature of the children's difficulties. These include different modules on:-
Picture Exchange Communication System
Staffing & Other Costs (Monthly)
Details Monthly Amount in GH New Cedis
Swimming Pool Use -free (donated by Erata Hotel)
Bus to and from Swimming Pool C250
School dinners & snacks C700
Water C 280
Internet (still does not work - so slow) C200
Bin Collection C60
Rent - April onwards C2,500
Staff Costs C4,000
SSNIT Payment is an additional payment on staffing cost total at 13.5% C550
Total C9,550 equivalent to £2,900
Use of Recent Donations from Sterry Family Foundation and Tula Trust
Thanks to donations from the Sterry Foundation and the Tula Trust we were able to meet the payment of staff salaries, purchase a polytank for clean water storage and purchase and install a pump for the polytank to be installed. Ther is no water at the site and water is purchased for the school on a weekly basis. We are looking for sponsors to drill a borehole for the school on site.
There has been a spate of burglaries on schools where computers have been stolen and so with some of the donated funds we were also able to pay for reinforced steel burglar proof on all entry points to be installed.
The school is in dire need of playground equipment and some of the above donations was used to purchase a playhouse for the children. Various other equipment are needed and donations are welcome to help us purchase those.
Donations are needed for:-
Shipping out sensory room, wheelchairs and many other equipment donated;
General Standing Expenses; and
Volunteer for designing and maintaining website
Sponsor a child!
If you would like to sponsor a child, please visit the Donation page at : www.creatingnewbeginnings.co.uk.