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Newman Catholic College

NewmanCatholic College

Syria Summer Camp

Crowdfunder Link:

Project Aim:  Our idea

Newman Catholic College, “Everyone Counts, Everyone Contributes, Everyone Succeeds”  the school motto

Who we are and what we’ve done:

Newman Catholic College’s motto is, “Everyone Counts, Everyone Contributes, Everyone Succeeds” .

Newman Catholic College, founded in 1958, is a Catholic school, Voluntary Aided, in the London Borough of Brent. Students are all boys from 11–19 years old with girls in the 6th form. The school represents a welcoming and caring community, giving pupils the encouragement and help to flourish, believing their lives can be good and contributing to the Common Good. 

Syria Summer Camp at Newman Catholic College was first piloted in 2016. It was born out of a desire to make a difference to the wellbeing of our Syrian students, in response to their articulated needs. We felt the right thing to do was to provide them with access to stimulating and stretching educational opportunities over the holidays and so help them regain confidence, excite them about learning and believe that they were capable of great things.

25 refugee students of Newman were invited to attend but in reality more than 50 registered on the programme. We regularly averaged 37 a day. Over 15 children, not from our school came, siblings, other family members and friends of our students. Many had heard the news of Summer Camp and wanted to join in the excitement of learning. We had children as young as 8 years, whole families of 6 siblings and new arrivals with no English.

We taught them Maths, English and Science 3 hours per day for 4 days for 4 weeks. Occasionally we were able to offer enrichment activities beyond the school day such as Art and Sport. Volunteer teachers came with a plethora of talents and experiences, all offering creativity, flexibility and bags of courage! They were given the freedom to run with anything they felt inspired to teach. With a shared vision and love for our children, they blended together perfectly across diverse faiths and a wonderful spirit of harmony and unity pervaded our days.

With such a positive, passionate environment, the children were encouraged to determine their own destiny and we found they stretched themselves beyond their imaginations, surprising us too!

The school donated its premises free of charge and the entire operation was delivered by volunteers with 2nd hand resources but delivering a 4 week Summer Camp entirely based on voluntary contributions is not sustainable and we want to do more not less.

So we are seeking crowdfunding to make this a reality and to raise £10,000 to make Syria Summer Camp viable and sustainable.  


What we want to do this summer:

  • We want to welcome as many as 50 children every day for 4 weeks.
  • We want to offer an extended day 10am to 3pm.
  • We want to renumerate essential leadership posts in primary education and specialist subjects.
  • We want to continue providing high quality education in English, Maths & Science but supplement this with regular enrichment activities such as art therapy, film making, family theatre, museum visits, etc.
  • We want to increase our focus on citizenship and our children becoming contributing, valued citizens of the UK.
  • We want to provide a sustaining lunch for our children and volunteer staff, which we hope our Syrian families will join in preparing.
  • We want to include our recently formed Mums’ and Babes’ English class and provide a crèche for young children.

 Why it's a great idea:

  • It's a response to actual need defined by our local school children themselves. Syrian children are hungry to learn and have an incredible desire to better themselves. But fleeing war in their homeland with a difficult journey and unsettled future loses them years of education which they desperately want to catch-up. ‘Sir, we want you to teach us in the holidays’ is the plea they made to the Headmaster a year ago. We are responding to their heartfelt cries.
  • It is a helping hand reaching out to the children’s parents to help them in a strange new land. Syrian parents dream of a better education for their children. This is what they believe in and stand for. They will sacrifice anything to provide their children with learning and long to express their gratitude for the smallest gesture of kindness on our part. Our Summer Camp is living proof that they can believe again their children have a right to education and that their lives can return to a normality once more.
  • It is a righteous call. The UK has always been a beacon for free and integrated societies – that is why the Syrian refugee families are here with us in London now.  Syria Summer Camp builds on this reputation for supporting individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths, beliefs and cultures and will help the children and their families settle here in UK as proud British citizens.

This is what makes Syria Summer Camp so necessary, so meaningful, such a moral imperative.

Where we are going to do it: Newman Catholic College, Harlesden Road, Willesden, NW10 3RN

Who are the Project Team: 

Project Leader is Amanda Wooster

Headteacher is Daniel Coyle

Assistant Head is Susan Grace.

Content Writer is Jon Hems.

Videographer/s are the Hot house Flowers, all-Muslima volunteer Film Crew

George Nindi on post-production and special effects.

Industry expert is J-go Training.

Social whizz is Mala Abidi      

What  they said last year:   

“Everyone at Summer Camp seemed to genuinely care for these youngsters”

“I am happy because I have a beautiful school”

"We are working at a higher level than we were before."

"It was so clear that a sense of community was fostered."