THE founder of a Tiverton charity that provides essential development work to communities in northern Bangladesh says good progress is being made in the region.

Robert Hodgson helped set up the Tiverton Sundarban Support Group in 1990 – and Tivertonians have been supporting essential development work there since.

Each year more than 500 children are helped to get onto the education ladder, about 100 pregnant mothers receive life-saving support through their pregnancies and for their babies once born, and about 40 students learn tailoring skills they can use to improve their income.

Robert returned from a visit to Sundarban at the weekend and says work there is going well.

He said: “We are now about half-way through the year and it was good to see that the attendance at the pre-schools is good and the numbers in the clinics are holding up.

“One of the unique things about our link is the strength of our personal contacts with everyone in Sundarban.

“I talked with the team there about their plans for the rest of the year and some great ideas came out.”

One of the plans is to develop commercial bespoke tailoring in Sundarban.

Mr Hodgson said: “This is at a very early stage – some of the girls are very skilled and deserve to have their talents more widely known, so we thought we might sell some of their products made using cotton grown in Sundarban Union to customers here in Tiverton.

“We still have some work to do on designs and consistency, so please don’t put in orders yet, but I'll be happy to talk to anyone interested.”

The Tiverton Sundarban Support Group will hold an open meeting to hear Robert Hodgson describe his visit and observations on Thursday, July 24, at 7.30pm in St James’ Church Hall, Old Road.