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Frome students transform Eastern European orphanage

Students Chris Williams and Xenia Bibicoff-Crowley with children and staff from the orphanage.

Students Chris Williams and Xenia Bibicoff-Crowley with children and staff from the orphanage.

TWELVE young learners from the Priory’s Farleigh Further Education College in Frome have helped to transform a Bulgarian orphanage, housing 50 children aged between four and 18 years.

The young people, with a range of learning difficulties, gave up two weeks of their summer break in order to assist in a much-needed makeover of the orphanage in Elin Pelin, a small town on the outskirts of Sofia, Bulgaria.

The students were required to raise £250 each as part of the project, which they achieved by cycling the distance from Frome to Sofia on exercise bikes kindly loaned to the college by the YMCA in Bath.

The 16 to 21 year-olds helped plaster and paint walls, including creating images from the Disney film ‘Frozen’ to brighten up the play room.  They also painted corridors, refurbished the medical room, and brought much needed toys and equipment for the children.

The trip, which was part of a work experience initiative, also allowed the learners to attend a careers seminar and take part in Bulgarian language lessons, which proved very useful whilst on the trip.

Alun Maddocks, principal at the Priory’s Farleigh Further Education College said, “This trip has proved to be educational, life-enhancing and inspirational.

“Our aim at Farleigh is to help our learners develop the confidence and skills they need to progress towards adulthood, including further or higher education and sustainable independent living in the community. This trip has transformed the skills and experiences of all the learners who took part.”