Youth worker to help children in need in South America

A LOCAL youth worker will be swapping Bexhill for the orphanages and children's homes of South America when he embarks on a year-long trip next month.

Luke Funnell, a group worker at East Sussex County Council's residential unit in Bexhill is taking a year's career break to travel around the South American continent.

However, the trip will not be entirely for pleasure as Luke intends to spend much of his time using his professional skills volunteering in orphanages and children's homes in several countries including Peru and Bolivia.

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He also hopes to establish links between some of the homes he visits and the young people who live in the residential unit he works in.

Before Luke sets off on his travels he is getting support of several of the youngsters he works with.

Five children in care and living in residential units, will be taking part in various fund-raising activities, raising money for one of the main charities Luke will be working with in South America '“ SOS Children's Villages.

Among the various fund-raising activities will be charity cycles and South American themed events. T

he main event to date was when several of the children joined Luke to run the Hastings half marathon, which he completed in approximately one and a half hours.

Luke said: "It's been really great. The young people have been really enthusiastic about being involved and raising money and we're hoping we can raise 1,000 for the charity.

"I also hope we can create some really strong links between our homes and some in South America so our young people can get a better idea of what it's like to grow up in a children's home in another country.

"I've wanted to do this trip for some time. But I don't just want to travel, I want to do something worthwhile. I'm sure it will benefit our young people but I hope I will also learn a lot."

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or more information on the main charity Luke will be working with during his trip visit the website at: www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk

To support Luke's fund-raising for the SOS Children's Villages charity visit: www.justgiving.com/Luke-Funnell