The RAF Shawbury based Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Charitable Appeal has had another record breaking year.
The Appeal, run by Wing Commander Neil Hope MBE from RAF Shawbury in North Shropshire, provides Aid through Football worldwide by collecting unwanted and donated football shirts and re-distributing them to the needy across the world.
In 2015 the Appeal, which is run in co-ordination with the RAF Football Association, has made 24 deliveries resulting in 27,380 items of football kit and school uniforms being delivered to children and adults in 15 countries across the world. The total included 7,256 football shirts. The totals make 2015 the most successful year to date since its inception in 2006.
In 2015 the Appeal made 10 deliveries into Kenya in East Africa and members of the Appeal team visited the country twice in the year. In June a team of 11 military and civilian personnel delivered over 4,500 items across 32 deliveries including to schools and clubs in the huge slum areas of Kibera, Kibagare and Mathare.
Other highlights in 2015 have included the arrival of kits which started their journey in 2014 to Pakistan and to the Refugee camps on the Turkey/Syria border through its partner charity, NPAC (National Police Aid Convoys).
A ground breaking delivery also broke down the political divisions on the Gaza Strip when Flt Lt Kev Thom made deliveries and provided coaching to children from both Palestine and Israel.
Deliveries have also been made to schools in Guinea, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda, Jamaica, UAE, Nepal, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, The Gambia and Zambia.
Neil said, “I continue to be amazed at the generosity of all of the people, clubs and schools as well as those at the County Football Associations and The FA. In 2015 this generosity has meant we have been able to deliver a ‘smile through football’ to the faces of children and adults across the globe. As football is truly THE global sport, something which may consider a small donation to people in the UK is a life changing gift to those with so little in places like the slum towns of Kenya and areas across the world.”
To date the Appeal has delivered 129,838 items, including 42,099 football shirts to 51 countries worldwide. The Appeal team will continue to collect and deliver in 2016 with a visit to Kenya planned for October.
The Evo-Stik League Southern was pleased to be able to donate a large number of its official Mitre footballs and, as can be seen below, they have reached as for as Mexico!