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2 football coaches are among a group from Island charity ‘Uzima in Our Hands’ heading out to support children at the Uzima Orphan Centre in Western Kenya.

The Island charity, which was set up in 2013, fundraises to provide education, welfare and other projects to support the Orphan and Day Care centre and its 340 children, many of whom are living in poverty or with disabilities or illnesses like HIV. It carries out yearly visits bringing equipment and resources for the centre and reporting back on the children’s progress to their Island sponsors.

The latest visit includes Vectis FC coaches Adrian Lax and James Brewer and students Max Collins, Josh Herman and Harry Brewer, who are travelling out with the group to provide coaching to some of the children supported by the centre. The children have demonstrated natural sporting abilities and enjoy their informal games but have not experienced any formal training.

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During their 10-day stay the group will carry out two coaching sessions a day with the children, plus a special tournament to mark the end of their visit with sweets as prizes – a once-a-year treat for all the children.

The coaches have also prepared drills that the teams can continue to practice once they return home.

Adrian said:

“I was really keen to get involved in supporting the vital work this charity does and I’m looking forward to being able to play my part in helping them discover more of the joys of football.  I’ve even been learning some Swahili so we can make the children feel at ease.”

Alongside the football coaches, the group also includes Trustee and local businesswoman Louise Collins, colleague Vick Brewer and teacher Martin Herman. Their focus will be on providing vocational training with a specially developed workbook – ‘An Introduction to Business’ – for some of the older children who aspire to own their own businesses.

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The group will also, as a result of local fundraising, be bringing out new school uniforms and sweatshirts for each of the children.  They will also take with them individual drawstring PE bags hand-sewn by WI, local church and community groups on the Island.

The group were supported with their off-Island travel by Wightlink.

Martin Gulliver, Island Ports Operations Manager for Wightlink said:

“It’s fantastic to see how the community have rallied round to support the charity and these young people and we were keen to play our part in helping the group on the first leg of their journey.

Louise said:

“This is my second trip and each time I visit I am thrilled to see the children’s progress and development.  There is no doubt that the charity is helping to change their lives, enabling them not just to survive but to flourish.

“Of course, there is always more that we need to do, and we are so grateful for the support we continue to receive from the Island community.”

The group will be joining charity founder Joy Mowle and former primary school headteacher Viv Collins who journeyed to Uzima earlier in the year, to provide additional support to the centre.

Louise added:

“We have had so much support to make this visit possible and we would like to thank all those who have helped us including Wightlink, Priory School who have kindly donated use of a minibus and also estate agents Savills who have sponsored the football kits and goals.”

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