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CREATING NEW BEGINNINGS

Nurturing children's unique abilities to untap potential

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 Administrator

1 Speech and Language Therapist

1 Physio Therapist

4 Teachers

1 Cook

1 Care Giver

1 Messenger

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.


Radio Interviews


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.


Admissions

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.


The Children


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

Epilepsy                                                                                                                               4

Toilet training                                                                                                                       7

Sensory difficulties                                                                                                            12


School Activities


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

Cookery                                                                                                                            Art

Gardening                                                                                                                        Science 


Staff Training


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:-

Autism Awareness

Epilepsy Awareness

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

Electricity                                                                                                                       C400

Gas                                                                                                                                C70

Water                                                                                                                            C 280

Telephone                                                                                                                      C340

Internet (still does not work - so slow)                                                                          C200

Bin Collection                                                                                                                C60

Other                                                                                                                             C200

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:-


Staff Salaries

Shipping out sensory room, wheelchairs and many other equipment donated;

School bus;

Playground Equipment;

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.