Craig Bellamy Foundation changing lives
- Mon 08 Mar 2010, 12:18PM
- Posted by David Clayton
Craig Bellamy is a tireless worker not only on the pitch, but away from it, too.
A visit to war-torn Sierra Leone three years ago resulted in City’s terrace idol setting up his own foundation and he has since invested his own money into various football related projects, including the country’s first football academy, making him a hero to thousands of youngsters in Africa.
The main aim behind the Craig Bellamy Foundation is to help give the country’s children the opportunity of a future they could only have previously dreamed of.
The project has proved to be an incredible success with 1,600 youngsters, 40 managers and 40 coaches now enrolled in the Craig Bellamy Foundation League which began last year.
The simple, yet effective condition required to join the League is attending school – those who don’t go cannot take part. The results have been incredible.
Boys taking part in the League have an average school attendance of 80% compared with 21% for those who don’t, proving the desire to play can be coupled successfully with education.
“I first went to Sierra Leone in 2007 because I had a couple of friends working out there,” said the Wales skipper.
“I was also interested in seeing a part of Africa that I’d never been to before.
I was amazed by the warmth of the people on my arrival. I was taken aback by their passion for football which is obvious wherever you go. It was an incredible experience for me
The CBF Academy, due to open later this year just outside the capital Freetown, is the biggest sporting investment in Sierra Leone for 30 years, but it is much more than just football that the underprivileged youngsters will take part in.
“Football motivates these kids like you wouldn’t believe,” said Bellamy. “The new Academy will give kids who are selected the chance to live, eat, be educated and play football there twice a day. Hopefully, it will help change their lives for the better.”
To learn more about Craig's foundation click here for the first of three short features.
For further information visit www.craigbellamyfoundation.org