Pub party to fundraise for Uckfield volunteer’s Africa venture

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A senior health service manager from Uckfield has volunteered for a tough Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) assignment near the Mozambique border with Malawi.

And one of her first fundraising projects is to hold a summer party at the Ringles Cross pub on July 19.

Emma Cuppini, 51, a project manager with the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group, is a volunteering ‘veteran’ having worked in an orphanage in a slum suburb of Kampala, Uganda, in November 2011.

As well as her demanding job, Emma still finds time to sing with the Fletching Singers and get involved with voluntary work.

She’s worked at the Tunbridge Wells Homeless Shelter, led groups on divorce and separation courses and is a street pastor in Tunbridge Wells. She has a daughter at uni.

Emma’s first love is travel. She said: “My best recent holiday was Vietnam in 2011 and I lived in Italy for eight years.”

She’s been accepted as a volunteer with VSO; “It was the toughest application process for anything, ever.

“I’m going to Malawi in early October for a year to work as an organisational development advisor to the Holy Family College of Nursing in Phalombe in the southeast of Malawi, near the Mozambique border.

“This is part of VSO’s extensive health programme, one of several they run in Malawi.

“Malawi has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world and qualified midwives are desperately needed. Part of my job will be to increase the numbers of students coming in to the college to study nursing and midwifery technician courses. I will also help the college improve its income and develop its organisation.”

Emma will live in a house in the college and hospital compound with two other VSO volunteers.

She said: “I’ve been thinking about volunteering with VSO for four years, knowing that I would have the chance when my daughter left home last year. VSO is the most amazing charity, they’ve been around for 60 years and their vision is a world without poverty, they create lasting, long-term solutions to global poverty by sending nutters like me out to pass on our skills. See www.vso.org.uk”

Her summer party is from 7.30pm onwards at the Ringles Cross pub and she thanks landlord Dave for his support. There is a raffle with prizes including a cut and blow dry at Claire Davies, cinema tickets, personal training at the Uckfield Health Boutique and a ‘slave auction’ where friends will be auctioned off - people can big for a handyman for half a day, grass cutting, a singing telegram etc.

Rock band Supersaurus will perform live. Everyone is welcome at this free event.