A Harlesden school's two-year fundraising drive to help displaced Syrian refugees got off to a flying start with a Christmas jumper day.

The day of festive fun in December at Newman Catholic College (NCC), in Harlesden Road, helped to raise £440 for an afterschool education programme based in Beirut, Lebanon.

The money will go towards creating a three-year higher education vocational and technical training programme based at the Dekwaneh Centre, South East Beirut, and the Ain El- Remmaneh Centre, South Beirut, and will also support disadvantaged Lebanese students.

With community support, the college hopes to raise £10,000 towards the £325,000 project.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Newman Catholic College pupils' Christmas jumper fundraiserNewman Catholic College pupils' Christmas jumper fundraiser (Image: NCC)

The school is working with Catholic charities The Constantinian Charitable Trust (TCCT) and Caritas Lebanon to support the programme.

NCC is among a handful of schools nationwide recognised as a school of sanctuary for refugees by the charity City of Sanctuary UK. It is also a UNICEF Rights Respecting school.

NCC headteacher Danny Coyle, who is also a TCCT trustee, said: "I am delighted that the superb work of this school over the last few years in supporting refugees from Syria here in Brent, as well as from other parts of the world, will now embrace children in Lebanon.

“I am convinced that the relationships that will develop as a result of this project will be of great benefit to all these children and their communities.”

Brent & Kilburn Times: Two girls support Newman Catholic College's Christmas jumper fundraiserTwo girls support Newman Catholic College's Christmas jumper fundraiser (Image: NCC)

Professor Ian Linden, TCCT chairman, said: “I was very moved, as were the other TCCT trustees, that the Newman Catholic College governors will be directing the school’s fundraising activities in support for the afterschool programme.

"My hope is that this new relationship between the children attending Newman Catholic College and the disadvantaged Lebanese children and Syrian refugees attending the programme will be of real mutual benefit by further nurturing in Newman College students the practice of solidarity that Pope Francis speaks about so often."

The chairman of the school governors, Paul O’Shea, added: “Both Newman Catholic College and the TCCT project have thus far been involved in supporting Syrian children displaced and disturbed by terrible conflict in their country, albeit in different places and different ways.

“This speaks to the solidarity to which we are called in supporting those suffering the consequences of poverty in Lebanon and those wrenched from their homeland by war."

To donate, visit www.constantinianct.com/contact

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