A Banbury businessman who has devoted the past nine years helping communities in Africa is hoping to head back to Sierra Leone later this year following the Ebola outbreak.
Alan Wolstencroft – a member of the Rotary Club of Banbury and a trustee of the Goodwill and Growth for Africa charity – was inspired to help after being involved in a project back in 2005.
Since then he has raised about £146,000 to help build and maintain two schools and despatch numerous shipments of equipments including school uniforms and football kits.
Mr Wolstencroft, who runs Fashion Fabrics in Parsons Street, said: “I was hoping to go back to Sierra Leone next month but given the situation in the country at the moment with Ebola it is not worth the risk. I know people who are out there at the moment so it’s a scary situation. It is just frustrating I can’t be there sooner.”
Since the start of the year, work has started on two new classrooms and two toilet blocks at the Liverpool Community School, based in the suburb of Waterloo in Freetown.
Work to build two more classrooms at the Christian Hope School in Kissy, Freetown is also due to start soon.
Mr Wolstencroft has already planned eight speaking events leading up to Christmas and this year’s Children Singing for Children Concert organised by the Rotary Club will be fundraising towards the project.
He said: “I thought when I went to Africa for the first time nine years ago it was going to be a one-off experience, but I have now been there 12 t imes – it has been part of my life.
“You hear about the poverty in Africa but until you have been there you can’t see just how dire things really are. The support I have had from businesses and individuals has been amazing. Everyone has been really supportive.”
For more information, or to help, email Mr Wolstencroft at firstname.lastname@example.org