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Crawley College ‘honoured and humbled’ by special visit from children of Chernobyl

It’s the simplest things that can put the biggest smiles on children’s faces.

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That was the lesson for healthcare and childhood studies students at Crawley College last week, as they discovered when they spent a morning with children from Chernobyl.

The students entertained the children, aged from seven to 12, with a number of hands-on activities – from painting to football – and in return were treated to beaming smiles, hugs and songs.

Every year, the children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster visit Sussex for four weeks as a respite break thanks to the charity ‘Friends of Chernobyl’s Children’.

And for the past seven years, students and staff at Crawley College have been working with the charity – providing fun activities as well as fundraising support.

Last year the college raised more than £1,800 for the charity – enough to sponsor two boys to come to the UK this summer.

Lecturer Kirsty Robinson has spearheaded the college’s involvement since 2012. She said:

“Although it has been more than 30 years since the Chernobyl disaster, it still has a massive impact on families from the area.

“For some, they have suffered health problems but many families live in abject poverty as a result of the disaster. The area has never recovered economically and it is hard to imagine what life is like for these children.

“For us, it is humbling. For our students, they have an opportunity to learn about the children and how their lives can be transformed.

“We have the honour and privilege of meeting some truly special young people. It is remarkable.”

Crawley College student Shannon Wilson added:

“I think we all enjoyed the morning with the children from Chernobyl.

“I’ve learnt a lot and I have a lot more knowledge and understanding about how they live, but they are still so happy. I think it puts a lot of things into perspective.”

Sheila Nash is the co-ordinator the Mid-Sussex group for the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children.

She said:

“All of us involved with FOCC Mid Sussex are really grateful for the wonderful support the Crawley College staff and students have given us over the years – both the fun activities they provide for our kids each summer and the amazing fundraising effort last year, which will more than pay for our little twins’ visit this summer and some towards the next year.

“It’s so good that both our children and the Crawley students benefit so much from the link we have created.”

Education

Attention all local Teachers. FREE tickets for your students as Into Film Festival returns to Crawley

Bookings now open for the world’s largest free film festival, programmed with the help of Into Film’s celebrity ambassadors

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Pupils are once again being offered the opportunity to attend free cinema trips and access free resources through the Into Film Festival, with 3000 film screenings and 200 special events taking place throughout the UK. Returning for its 7th year from 6-22 November, the Festival is the world’s largest free film festival and its many themes and topics can be utilised by educators across the curriculum, in subjects such as English, modern foreign languages (MFL), geography, history, PSHE, politics and citizenship.

This year will feature 6 screenings in Cineworld Crawley of a variety of films targeted towards both primary and secondary students including Stan & Ollie, Vice, The Angry Birds Movie 2, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Under the Sea (Imax) and Mary Poppins Returns (Autism friendly). Of those events, over 1000 free tickets are still up for grabs.

Some of Into Film’s celebrity ambassadors helped programme this year’s Festival by choosing their favourite children’s films to be screened, including Sir Kenneth Branagh (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), Rhys Ifans (Oliver!), Katie Leung (Moana), Naomie Harris (The Sound of Music), Matthew Rhys (E.T.) and Ruby Barnhill (Howl’s Moving Castle).

This year’s Festival is comprised of eight strands that can help educators navigate the packed programme: Mental Wellbeing & Identity, Language & Creativity, The Natural World, Exploring History, Debate, Fantasy & Adventure, Rebellion and Musicals.

The Into Film Festival, hosted by film education charity, Into Film is supported by Cinema First and the BFI through National Lottery funding and backed by the UK film industry. It is notably one of the biggest, free cultural events of the year and is curated for UK pupils aged 5-19 offering over 3,000 film screenings and speaker events covering a vast range of curriculum-linked topics.

The Into Film Festival 2019 will take place from 6-22 November. All events and screenings are free. For programme information, to book tickets and download resources visit: http://www.intofilm.org/iff19

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