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  • St Neots photographer Bryan Osborne on his plantation dream to support Gambian village 04/12/2022

    Apr 12th, 2022

    A former photographer is stepping up his efforts to help people living in a village in The Gambia, in the hope of establishing a plantation that can support a community for a generation. Bryan Osborne from St Neots in Cambridgeshire first visited the country while working on a photo shoot for a local educational charity 10 years ago. Now retired, he has set up his own small charity to help support people living in a village called Kerr Layen, where he hopes to plant a cashew plantation. It started when Mr Osborne got a phone call from a friend in the remote village at Christmas in 2020. He said: “He said there was a crisis with supply of food, due to Covid and a lack of tourism. Within three days we managed to send 20,000 meals to Kerr Layen - about three tonnes of rice. "It took us 26 hours to get it from door to door, but we thought we needed to move forward from that - one of the big problems is trying to overcome this year on year.” Bryan Osborne Bryan Osborne Credit: ITV Anglia The team’s latest project involves planting 500 cashew trees on five hectares of land near the village, in an effort to help the environment and create a source of income. Once the cashew nuts reach maturity in about four years' time, the team hope the plantation will yield an income of up to £10,000 per year for 30 years. Mr Osborne added: “We’re hoping that the legacy from the initial plantation, that £10,000, will provide a school. It could provide a district nurse, it could provide a school teacher, a new borehole, but the choice is the Gambians', the choice is for the people of the Kerr Layen to make.” The plantation in the Gambian village The plantation in the Gambian village Credit: Bryan Osbourne The team are aiming to raise £3,000 by the end of July to finish the first cashew tree plantation and hope to plant more in years to come. Mr Osborne said the idea was that the whole project would be managed by the village for the village by July 2023. He added: “I believe the children in this village have to have the potential to dream, they need the opportunity going forward - an education, the opportunity to have a fulfilling life. "At the moment they don’t and it’s really critical to us to be able to do that.”