Farewell, #Penrice3580

Penrice Academy Sends Shipping Container of Donations to Sierra Leone

On Wednesday 20th September, Penrice Academy marked the end of this year’s epic charity Project, #Penrice3580, with the shipping of a 40ft container to Sierra Leone.

The container is filled with donations from the community of St Austell which will transform the lives of hundreds of children and families in Kissi Town, Sierra Leone.

The launch followed a final news package on BBC Spotlight, created by the Academy Council to tell the final chapter of the charity project.

Items include hospital beds and equipment, thousands of items of clothes, books and toys, over 30 bikes and miscellaneous items such as a trampoline and even a telescope for the local school.

The charity project, in conjunction with Project 3580 who are based in Kissi Town, was the idea of the Academy’s 12 Council members in September 2016.

Each year the Council is responsible for supporting a charity of their choice, and they decided to go international on a huge scale with #Penrice3580.

Following a Fun Run involving the whole school community in February, a week of charity events and 24 hours of sport with Year 11 in March, the total raised reached over £17,000 – in just 8 weeks.

Chris Knipe, Assistant Principal who led the project at Penrice, said: “It has been an incredible experience to watch what started as a small idea grow into something that has inspired our community to get involved and change the lives of thousands of people.”

Amongst the larger events, students organized cake sales, created and sold T-shirts and spoke to businesses and organizations – such as Rotary and The Lions of St Austell – to help spread the word.

Students involved in BBC School Report covered the story in March, with Year 9 Reporter Bella Taylor asking the children in the camp about the donations they would like. Bella and Head Boy Gabe Connolly were then interviewed on BBC Spotlight about the charity efforts.

The council then voted on what to do with the money raised. They decided that the shipping container, branded with the school logo and charity name by Cornwall Signs in St Austell, should also be a donation, and will stay in Kissi Town to be turned into a workshop for the next generation.

Benjamin Evans, Head Boy at Penrice and Academy Council Representative, said: “As a Council we all agreed that purchasing a container would be life changing. The idea that it will now serve as a building in the town is fantastic. We can’t wait to see it in action.”

In April 2017, Chris Knipe spent a week in Kissi Town building a classroom for the community, alongside English Teachers Jade Cox and Paul Johnson.

The classroom, which is the destination of many of the boxes of books and school equipment in the container, has been named ‘The Penrice Classroom’ and features a wall plaque with the names of the students who raised the most money.

Head Girl Daisy Devlin, Deputy Head Girl Evie Hicks and Academy Council representative Sophie Langan are all part of St Austell Guides, and organized hundreds of Guide uniforms to be donated for the container, in the hope that girls in Kissi Town could start their own group.

Daisy said: “Being part of the Girl Guides means so much to me and to think that girls in Sierra Leone could be part of it – thanks to the Guides of St Austell – is just amazing.”

13 tons of donations from families and businesses around St Austell are now on their way to Sierra Leone.

Daisy, who spoke about the project on BBC Spotlight days before the container left, said: “This has truly been a project to be proud of, and one our community will never ever forget. On behalf of Penrice Academy I would like to say thank you to everyone who donated to #Penrice3580.”