Comic Relief fundraiser takes students around the world

Our ESOL students have been involved in a four day charity project. The project came to a close with a fundraising event where the students participated in the great British institution of Comic Relief.

Throughout the week, the students were visited by numerous charity organisations from the local area. Mark Hirst from Durham and Darlington NHS Trust, Louise Carlyle-Mitchell from Useful Vision, Marie Wisson from Durham Cathedral and Charlotte Linton and Abby Thompson from Durham Community Action all gave presentations to the students. The students were then invited to attend a mock interview and to present their CVs to the recruiters and talk about potential volunteering opportunities.

The fundraising event on Thursday was a great success, raising a huge £320. Students raised money in a number of different ways: there was food from around the world, an Arabic coffee stall, face painting, cornbraiding, a languages team who wrote in different scripts and offered 5 minute language lessons in Italian, Arabic, Russian and Spanish, and there were dance classes and performances from Syrian, Egyptian and Mexican students. The teachers too helped out – the teachers in Durham all dressed as English idioms.

While the students were preparing for and hosting the event, three of their teachers have been in Finland on an Erasmus-funded teacher exchange programme. Natasha, Bridget and Tom have all travelled to Kokkola on the Bothnian Sea to teach students at the Centria University of Applied Sciences.

Even though Natasha, Bridget and Tom were in Finland, they weren’t let off the hook: they were given a big challenge – to do an ice challenge – swimming in the frozen sea! Temperatures were expected to be minus 14!

Niall Oddy, a new member of staff in ESOL said, “It’s been a fantastic week and a great opportunity for the students to learn about and participate in a British institution.”

In keeping with the theme of volunteering which has been running throughout the year in ESOL, the team were supported all week by two volunteer teachers, Barbra Colledge and Heather Thompson.

Zoe Williams, Programme Leader, commented: “As always I am blown away by the generosity of our ESOL students. Every student donated the materials for the event for free and spent hours of their own time preparing them.”