As fans, followers, supporters, players, committee members, board members we all have a collective interest in that of Sheppey United FC. We are blessed to have amazing facilities at Holm Park and we are lucky that we are able to enjoy going to matches and sharing the experience with friends and family in comfort and I just want you to hold that thought as you continue reading.
On Saturday afternoon (14th January) I was delighted to welcome Julian Chenery who has become a good friend of the club since our first meeting back in 2017. Julian has been a link for sending football kits from here in the UK to African teams who don’t have the luxury of any real matching kit and sometimes not even the correct footwear of boots or trainers. Julian collected three full old SUFC kits from us and they will be going out to our friends at Bright Stars Deaf football Club in Uganda who currently wear a SUFC kit from around 8 years ago. As soon as we have confirmation that the kits have arrived and I get photos I will of course share them with you via another update both here and in the match day programme. Bright Stars are aware of the impending shipment and cant wait to show them off.
On Saturday Julian brought along Raphael Akowe from the Raphael Akowe Foundation and introduced me to the work he also does in Africa and in particular Nigeria. To say I was blown away and a little emotional is an understatement. Raphael explained that he collects not just sports wear and kit from around the UK but also old bicycles, wheelchairs, lawnmowers and so much more along side fundraising to be able to purchase and distribute books, pens, school uniforms and plants for school children to help themselves to fruit from trees in the school grounds. The bicycles help children who live miles away from a school to gain any sort of education, the lawnmowers help keep the school grounds and sports grounds in order. Second hand Zimmer frames and wheelchairs help disabled children live a better life and to give them the opportunity to participate at school. He even collects and sends wellington boots out there. When I asked why they would need them outside of their rainy season he told me “It’s to stop the snakes from biting the workers, teachers and children’s ankles as they cut and clear long grass away from around the school”
He showed me some albums of photos of his work out there and it is simply amazing and very humbling. Which leads me back to my first paragraph above. Something we take for granted in every day life, be that an old pair of trainers we no longer need or even just a simple biro pen makes a world of difference to these people.
I have promised that next season we will organise a drop off point with a wish list of items that all of our brilliant fans, supporters and wider community can help collect in. We will of course still help Bright Stars and via the Ites Foundation at the club we will help local youth / sports clubs on the Island as much as we can.
I urge you all to please go their website and take a look: https://www.raphaelakowefoundation.org/
Likewise, there is a Crowd Funding page if you are able to make a donation: Link
Thanks as always.