A huge ‘thank you’ goes to Jackie Cole for all her effort in staging a very enjoyable and financially successful fund raising Fashion Show.
The Trust are looking for a new Administrator to take over March 2019 (or earlier). The position is voluntary and involves coordinating the administrative tasks that keep the work of the Trust legal, effective and up to date. Job description available on request.
Due to the political unrest in Nicaragua the Trust has reluctantly ceased working on the ground due to the fact that we cannot get insurance cover for our volunteers whilst the British government is advising people not to travel to Nicaragua. However all our other activities such as fund raising and collecting donations of materials to send out there are continuing as normal and the dilemma we have is what to do with the huge amount of things we have and where to put more when it is offered as our warehouse is full to capacity.
We have approached other charities working in Rumania to help them by providing hospital beds and mattresses as we currently have over 60 beds and 200 mattresses in stock. This would ease the pressure in our warehouse. We could still send a container to Nicaragua but the problem is being sure the materials can be retrieved from customs and distributed as there is currently tremendous disruption due to protests and road blocks. The idea has been mooted to send a container of clothing and bedding etc to the Costa Rican refugee camps where a great many Nicaraguans have fled in order to escape the unrest. The problem with this is the time scale. It takes weeks for a container to get to its destination and the situation may well have changed by the time it arrives. It really is a dilemma but you can rest assured the trustees and staff are constantly in touch with our partners and helpers in Nicaragua and will do all they can to continue to support the people of Bluefields and other projects in the country. There are elections in March 2019 so the hope and prayer is this will bring some settlement to the conflict between the ruling party and the opposition.
Nicaragua has been poor but peaceful for many years, escaping the violence of neighbouring countries. In mid-April 2018 violent demonstrations broke out, triggered by a social security change, and at least 120 have died in widespread shooting incidents: now, roads are being barricaded, leading to food shortages, and the population is angry with Ortega’s government. There is no clear way forward and the unrest continues. All overseas development aid is on hold, and we fear for the safety of our friends. The churches in Nicaragua have been trying to help in reassuring and supporting the people.
Our manager, Valeria, and her family are safe but deeply worried – having been through similar scenes some decades ago. Our recent team’s visit to Bluefields was a huge success, building a new school and kitchen in less than 3 weeks; but we then had to take special measures to bring them out safely, avoiding the roadblocks. We cancelled the July team trip – with apologies to all booked to take part. We have no idea when it will again be safe to send out donated goods and working parties, and so our planned January 2019 trip is in some doubt.
In the meantime the Trust will watch and pray, monitoring the very scarce, partial and mostly partisan reporting from Nicaragua. It seems the world press isn’t interested, for the present, and fragmented social media reportage is (as we’d expect) unhelpful.
That was the overwhelming feedback I got about this years rides and we raised a substantial sum of money for the Peace and Hope Trust which of course is the aim of all our efforts. Thanks to all of you who took part, Stephen Ind the C.E.O of The Peace and Hope Trust has asked me to send his best wishes and grateful thanks for all your support and of course he says this on behalf of all the families who will benefit from the work done by the trust in Nicaragua.
These photos above illustrate what the trust is trying to achieve by its school building programme.
Some of the older children attending the now fully operational school built during 2016/17 by six teams from the Trust in just under eighteen months in Bluefields on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. This new building replaced an old and very inadequate smaller building which housed 80 children. The new school caters for 160 youngsters and has its own kitchen so all the children get a free lunch provided by the government.
One of the classrooms fully decorated by volunteers, furnished and equipped from donations to the Trust. Notice all the children are wearing uniforms several of them will have been provided by the Trust because their parents can’t afford to buy them and they are not allowed to attend school unless they have a uniform. Education is free but uniforms are not!
A feeding programme set up by the Trust, the running of which was subsequently taken over by a local church and you can see Pastor Gonzalo signing the children in.
This is a stone quarry where some of the very poorest children come from.
The stone quarry supplies broken rock and stone chippings for concrete, all quarried and broken by hand. The men and women working here earn so little they cannot possibly afford to buy uniforms for their children so the Trust buys them and the children get an education thus giving them a chance of breaking the cycle and eventually leaving the quarry.
In the coming months I will tell you many more stories of how your money makes a difference!
Congratulations to everyone involved from the sign fixers to the registration team, the traffic controllers and the 70 milers, the 40 mile gang, the family day outers and the odd eccentric window cleaner; we managed to raise just over £4,000 but the final figure will be quite a bit greater with all the promises of gift aid. When we have all the sponsorship and donations in and we have calculated the value of the gift aid I will let you know the exact net amount raised.
This is me trundling round the 70 route and yes 52 miles was far too far for the refreshments stop. I won’t make that mistake again! As for the shortage of food well all I can say is we were caught out by the number of entries on the day. We calculated the food based on the same formula as last year when we had cake left over, even though we had entries on the day. Based on last years experience we expected about 145 entries and we got 171. So I am very sorry some of the tail end riders did not get the food they expected. All I can say is we have discussed what happened and we WILL get it right next year. The same goes for the signage I will be ordering more arrows to make sure we have more than enough to clearly mark out the routes. It’s strange that we ran out because last year none of the teams struggled for arrows, I must have designed routes with a lot more junctions this year. Apologies!
I have not set the date for next years event as there are still a few things to iron out but it will be in early April. I am planning to get the date fixed by early June, the rides planned out and tested by the end of August and entries will open in September. If I possibly can I want to set up a payment method on line on the new website instead of you bringing cash on the day.
If I am to keep you informed of all that’s happening I need your written permission to keep your details on my database, with the new data protection regulations coming into force next month, and so when you get the request from me in the next day or so please add your name to the return email I send you and we can keep in touch – Cheers, Ron.
(Click to enlarge)
A huge thank you and congratulations to Ron Swanick, for organising a brilliant day at the Sportive!
Ron crosses the finishing line at the end of an epic day of cycling, on a gorgeous spring day in Gloucestershire, with over 100 riders raising funds for the Trust.
Watch this space for more pictures and updates…
The 2018 cycle sportive is raising funds for the work done in Bluefields, Nicaragua by The Peace and Hope Trust. The people of this very poor town in the poorest country in Central America need all the help they can get.
The Peace and Hope Trust does a great deal of work building schools, clinics and skill centres. They also set up and aid local projects to train unemployed people, feed children who would otherwise be malnourished and help protect vulnerable young people from exploitation.
Education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty and the trust does all it can to get the poorest children into education in schools fit for purpose. They send out several containers each year full of donated equipment and materials for schools, clinics and hospitals in Bluefields.
You can help by riding in the 2018 Challenge for Hope Sportive.
After the success of last two year’s event, from which we raised over £7,000, we are hoping for an even greater turnout for this year’s ride. The 25, 40 and 70 mile rides will be fully way-marked with free refreshments on all the routes. There will be bacon butties to get you going and a bar and barbecue on your return. Gloria has agreed to supply her wonderful homemade cakes for the refreshments on route.
The start and finish is kindly hosted by Dursley Rugby Club in Stinchcombe GL11 6AJ and the new routes will take you through some of Gloucestershire’s most peaceful lanes. There are a couple of challenging hills on the 70 mile run but the 25 & 40 mile rides are relatively flat this year.
The earliest time you can start is 8am. The suggested start time for the 70 mile is 8am to 9am, for the 40 mile is 9am to 11am, and for the 25 mile is 10am to 12pm. This should allow most riders to be back for the barbecue between 2pm and 4pm.
It’s just a £25 donation per household to enter but if you can give or add a little more with sponsorship it would be gratefully received.
This Sportive is open to all. We welcome ‘the dead keen’ and ‘the family day out’ riders. The ‘tandem duos’ and the ‘dressed to impress’ brigade. Cyclists on electric bikes will also be very welcome to take part. All welcome.
Stinchcombe Rugby Club, https://www.dursleyrfc.co.uk/directions
Please send completed entry forms to: