Local MP helps students have 'trip of a lifetime'

27 June 2011

THIRTY-TWO students of the Durham Federation will be going on an expedition to Morocco in July this year – something they have described as ‘a trip of a lifetime’, thanks in part to a donation from MP Kevan Jones through his charitable fund at County Durham Community Foundation.

Staff and students from the Fyndoune Community College will have the chance to experience Moroccan culture first hand, interacting with local village children and trekking the desert on camels.

The expedition is part of the Durham Federation World Challenge which aims to provide students with life-changing experiences which will truly broaden their horizons and awareness of other cultures, and give them an experience never to be forgotten. Helen Smith, student of The Durham Federation said “I am really excited for this opportunity – this is something I would never have done by myself and I can’t wait”.

Expedition participants have been working hard for over two years to raise the funds needed for the trip, an immense £1,200 per student. They have taken part in bag packs, run raffles, collected old clothes and even braved an abseil off the Transporter Bridge. Local donations, including the Sacriston Parish Council, have also contributed towards the students’ fundraising efforts. Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, donated £500 towards the trip through his charitable fund at County Durham Community Foundation. Teachers and students from the Durham Federation were overwhelmed by his generosity which made such a significant difference to their fundraising efforts.

Amy Powell, teacher from the Durham Federation, said “We are so proud of our students for working so hard to achieve their fundraising goal and more, but there always seems to be something else that needs to be paid for – the donation from Kevan Jones has really helped us towards paying for the buses down to London where we are flying from”.

Kevan Jones set up his fund at the Community Foundation in 2008 with the incentive of match funding from the Government Grassroots Endowment Challenge which offered to match contributions into endowment funds £ for £, although he had been a regular supporter of the Foundation beforehand. He had this to say: “I am very pleased to have been able to contribute to the fundraising efforts to enable the students to go on the expedition to Morocco as part of the World Challenge. They have made a huge effort to raise the necessary funds and I have no doubt that taking part in this challenge will be an amazing experience. I have been involved with the County Durham Community Foundation for a number of years now, and it is always very rewarding to see the grants made having such a positive impact.”

Christina Rackley, who manages Kevan’s fund at the Community Foundation, believes that these types of donations are exactly why community foundations exist. “We allow donors to support the causes that are close to their hearts, and close to their home. The grassroots nature of our grant-making ensures we are able to provide donors with feedback on where and how, their donations have been spent.”

If anyone would like further information on the World Challenge you can contact the Durham Federation on 0191 373 0336. County Durham Community Foundation provides a professional grant-making service for County Durham and Darlington, anyone wishing to find out more should visit the website at www.cdcf.org.uk.