Beds, Herts & Bucks

Entire school interior will help new Sierra Leone village

Children in Sierra Leone Image copyright Home Leone
Image caption Children living in the slums of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone

The fixtures and fittings of a UK school are being stripped out and shipped to west Africa to aid the creation of a new village.

Everything from the doors and windows, toilets and kitchen fittings will be removed from Stopsley High School in Luton ahead of its demolition.

The high school is expanding and will move into new premises in January.

Volunteers have begun dismantling and removing the old furniture over the Christmas period.

The charity Home Leone will recycle everything to kit out a new school in Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone.

It will be part of a new settlement called Destiny Village, on the outskirts of Freetown.

Fresh start

Home Leone chief executive Nigel Hyde described the volunteer effort as "amazing".

"This will enable thousands of children to have a fresh start in education which will transform their lives," he said.

Image caption All the fixtures and fittings from Stopsley High School will be shipped to west Africa

Thousands of people have lost their lives to Ebola in Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in 2013.

Image copyright Home Leone
Image caption Thousands of people have lost their lives to Ebola in Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in 2013

The new village will comprise 300 homes, businesses and health facilities for 2,000 people. Included in the plans is the school for 500 children.

"The schools are really key because education is key to the future of Sierra Leone and west Africa," said Mr Hyde.

Image caption Volunteers have been helping to move furniture from Stopsley High School

The charity has been boosted by donations from another local school, Silsoe Lower, which has also provided furniture.

"Out of an old school comes a new school," said Mr Hyde.

"A door that we would pay £200 for, to have for free, is just amazing."

Image caption Fixtures and fittings from Stopsley High School will be shipped by container to Sierra Leone

Stopsley High School parent-governor Carl Gray said he hoped the programme would lead to an ongoing relationship between the two schools in future.

"It would be wonderful for students to see how their old furniture will be appreciated," he said.

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