26 October 2015 - A New Lease of Life

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A New Lease of Life

I want to tell you about some Good News unfolding over the last few weeks in Germany. It is news that will probably go unreported because it is News of Hope in a world where often it seems as though only negative news makes the headlines these days.

My old school in Germany, Prince Rupert School (PRS) closed down last year and when I went to the joint reunion/closing down celebrations, those who went learned that the school, which had been built and paid for by beleaguered taxpayers of 1970s Britain, was probably destined for the bulldozers. In 1972 the state of the art school for forces kids cost a staggering 18.5 Million German Marks to build.

When the refugee crisis erupted and Germany opened its doors to many thousand Syrian refugees, it did cross my mind that redundant British Forces buildings could be used. Why hadn’t anyone else thought of this?

According to the Google translation of the German newspaper that has reported it, Prince Rupert School in Rinteln is now temporary home to 600 refugees fleeing conflict.
PRS entrance
The following is taken from the latest article by Author: Hans Weimann. Posted 26th October 2015

The police and the ambulance service attended when the first refugees arrived yesterday morning in the Red Cross buses around 10:30 clock at the former Prince Rupert School. Fire Chief Friedel Garbe made a last tour of the house, an employee of the cleaning company Jakob Höfer was still cleaning the washrooms. At least there are no fire worries, fire extinguishers are in place and the ground floor windows to the outside there are emergency routes and exits.

Firefighters have set up the beds in the rooms. The doors can not be closed completely, so that the security guards can check on their rounds, if everything is in order. In the school hallways the surveillance cameras which belonged to the British are still in place. The hope is that the system can be ramped up again. The refugees have enough outlets to charge their cell phones, there are electrical outlets in the rooms and additional power strips in a computer room. Each refugee receives their own numbered locker.

Still not all finished on the site. Yesterday locks for the doors were still needed. At the main entrance to the school the security guards are to prepare a container placed directly at the entrance. It is planned that the refugees’s house passes be scanned so you know who is in the building and who is not. Some equipment is still needed, there is a space for washing machine and dryer. The article suggests that there may be room for up to a thousand refugees in total.
Taken from Google Translated editorial – Author: Hans Weimann
Rint from web
PRS beds from web
Dining hall
lounge 2
garden 2
Here you can see one of the many former classrooms now been used as accommodation for the refugees.
I understand that many more ex British Forces assets are also being used to house refugees across Germany. So in a roundabout way I feel Britain is contributing more than is being reported in our press. Where there seems to be despair and hopeless situations, hope and common sense can prevail and people and communities are pulling together to make desperate situations a little brighter for these families who have made it that far. The ex British Forces Kids on Facebook can remember being made welcome and enjoyed growing up in 1970s Germany and so its no surprise that a number are wanting to reach out personally to those who will be arriving in what to them will be a new safe-haven in Germany, somewhere they can call home even just for a short while until something more permanent can be offered them. by © Tony Morrell Oct 2015
Some photos of Prince Rupert School taken at the closing down / reunion celebrations June 2013.

…..an amazing place!