How many keepy-uppies with a table tennis ball do you think you could do? 10? 50? Maybe even 100? Well, amazingly, Conor Sweetman at the Sixth Form College Colchester achieved a staggering 12,000. Yes, 12,000! This challenge was part of a charity event to fundraise for the Friends Not Foes club that runs at the college to help support refugees who have come to Colchester. Various fun events took place in the college on Friday the 12th of November. Not only was there a ‘Bat and Ball Keepy Uppy Challenge’; also, from 9 am to 4 pm there was a table tennis ultimate rally which kept the ball going for a whole college day. Furthermore, a tournament took place for which students had to raise £20 from their form group to take part. The success of the day was shown by the amazing £428.00 raised, which goes to the great cause of helping refugees locally. 


The Friends Not Foes club has been running for several years to help local refugees feel welcomed into Colchester by providing conversation classes and driving theory lessons, supported by students at the college. In addition, refugee children at local schools are assisted with their homework and language skills. This important work goes beyond just college, with close links with Refugee-Action Colchester meaning that children are looked after in community meetings. Crucially, the people involved in Friends Not Foes really care about the work that goes on and want to make a difference to the lives of refugees locally. One member of this group, Iona McDiarmid, says ’I do it to directly help - to see them happy that they’ve got something right, or that they’re smiling after having won a game of Uno. It makes the time we spend totally worth it’. 


Events like the table tennis challenges show the commitment and enthusiasm of students towards a very important cause.