Burnley football coaches’ mission to Africa

SKILLS EXPORT: PE teachers off to teach football in Uganda, from left, Simon Grime, Marc Hilton, Chris Heap and Neil Claxton.
SKILLS EXPORT: PE teachers off to teach football in Uganda, from left, Simon Grime, Marc Hilton, Chris Heap and Neil Claxton.

FOUR football enthusiasts are off to share their coaching skills in Uganda.

All are PE teachers or co-ordinators at local schools. Chris Heap and Neil Claxton work at St Leonard’s Primary, Padiham, and Simon Grime and Marc Hilton, work at Wellfield Primary, Burnley,

At the beginning of February they will swop their classrooms, thermals and chilly sessions in the playground for a fortnight in the African sunshine.

The four friends also work for Burnley FC PESS, the football club’s programme for education, sport and society, which has jointly organised the trip with the charity Seeds For Development in partnership with the Ugandan Kids League, a non-governmental organisation that gives young people chance to improve their lives through sports and recreation

Their venture follows a similar project last year when Julie Bradley and Dawn Foreshaw went to Uganda with a farming enterprise.

“We are all really looking forward to the trip”, said Chris. “I’m sure it will be a life-changing experience and we can’t wait to get out there. We really feel we can make a difference to all the people involved in football and coaching in the areas we are going to, hopefully improving the standard of young footballers and also greatly increasing the quality of coaching.” The trip has been given the name Burnley FC Pop Up Coaching Uganda.

It will focus on local football played in schools and by community groups and football clubs. During the tour they will travel to several parts of the country, known as the Pearl of Africa, and which is noted for its rich wildlife.

During their visit the four will provide Ugandan coach volunteers with opportunities to develop skills and confidence so that they, in turn, will be able them to give high quality, purposeful coaching to their young players.

The youngsters will be taught the value of respect, teamwork, equality and leadership which, in turn, will motivate other players they come in contact with, and so inspire future generations of coaches.

Before flying out the team is hoping to collect donations of kit, equipment and cash for the young players they meet.

Chris added: “We’ll be providing practical coaching sessions for a wide range of children and young footballers as well as coach education for the teachers, coaches and volunteers involved in grass roots football.

“We don’t have a specific fund-raising target but any donations would be appreciated.”

• For details go to www.seedsfordevelopment.org