A foundation set up by Attraction Tickets Direct and Do Something Different founder Oliver Brendon last year has received charitable status.
The ATD Foundation supports education, water sanitation and football projects in Zambia. Its new status means it can now accept donations towards the work it does in Africa.
It has set up the Livingstone Youth Football Academy in the capital Lusaka, which operates teams for boys and girls. The teams currently play at a school, but Brendon said grants had enabled the foundation to purchase a plot of land to build a new ground and changing rooms.
Brendon said the focus of the project was to provide nutritional food, support and education for the academy’s players, whose first team plays in the third division of the Zambian football league.
The five-year plan is to create opportunities for children in more remote areas of the country, and provide them with transportation and accommodation.
He said: “I took my son to see Arsenal play Man City at Wembley the other week and they were terrible. But [when you watch] football in Africa, there is such passion. Football is such a force for good. It brings communities together and promotes great ethics around education. There is gender equality and opportunity for all.”
Brendon said the foundation, which employs two full-time members of staff – one in the UK and one in Zambia – also has benefits for his employees.
“ATD employs a lot of millennials and it’s very important to them to be part of something more than just a money-making machine.
“Once a member of staff has been with us for six months, they can go and see the work we’re doing over there. Thirty have gone so far. They have to raise £1,000 themselves, and we subsidise their trip. They are always running quizzes and other events to raise money. It’s brilliant.”
Brendon visits the projects three or four times a year. On his most recent visit he presented trophies to the players of the year.
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