Premier League club Stoke City to revisit South Africa

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The Potters will once again be involved in a project called Challenge South Africa

Stoke City will visit South Africa for the second successive year to support a local initiative aimed at improving the lives of people Stoke-on-Trent and Cape Town, the club confirmed in a statement. 

The Premier League club said they will link up with Stoke-on-Trent College 'to use the power of football and its brand to achieve a number of objectives which include:

- Create opportunities for local young people from areas of deprivation within Stoke-on-Trent to volunteer internationally.
- Develop young people’s personal, social, and employability skills to help them realise their potential.
- Inspire ambition in the communities within Stoke-on-Trent and Cape Town, South Africa.
- Raise young people’s awareness of equality & diversity on an International level.
- Improve social inclusion locally and internationally.
- Promote lifelong learning.

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Here's part of the statement released by Stoke City on Thursday: 

The Community Trust's Operations Manager Ben Gibson will head up a group making the journey from the bet365 Stadium that also includes Premier League Kicks coach Callum Feeney, Stoke-on-Trent College Sports Co-coordinator Calvin Austin, PREM Management Consultant Melissa Matthews and eight students from Stoke-on-Trent College who have volunteered locally for Stoke City Community Trust over the past nine months.

As well as donating sports equipment, Stoke City coaches and volunteers will deliver structured sports sessions to children at Talfalah Primary School in the city. They will also be involved in a range of other initiatives that include volunteering in a soup kitchen, the handing out of food parcels in townships in need, and a visit to Robben Island and the Apartheid Museum to enhance their understanding of equality and diversity on an international level. 

Whilst out in Cape Town last year the Club delivered a coach education programme to local teachers and coaches to equip them with the tools to be able to deliver their own football based projects within their communities. Staff and volunteers are looking forward to visiting some of these projects to see what impact the programme has had.

One of these organisations, OASIS, who use football as a tool to deliver social development projects in Cape Town will host a community five-a-side football tournament which the Club’s volunteers will help to organise and deliver. The aim of the competition is to use football to bring together local communities who wouldn’t usually interact.

Steph Morey, who took part in the project last year said: “Challenge South Africa completely changed my career path. I volunteered for the project while studying veterinary at College but after experiencing sports coaching whilst in South Africa and completing my FA Level One coaching qualification, I knew that I wanted a career in sport. I’m delighted to now work as a community apprentice for Stoke City Community Trust which allows me to make a difference to the lives of young people in Stoke-on-Trent and beyond.”

As part of this project, volunteers have to each raise £650 [R10963.99] and have taken part in a range of fundraising activities including bag packs, raffles, cake sales and auctions during the last nine months. 

There is one final push to raise as much money as possible which will all go to food parcels that are distributed to those most in need who live in townships within Cape Town. 

The Club hopes to beat last year’s total of 125 food parcels which really do make a difference to those receiving them. Food parcels cost approximately £10.00 [R170] each and will last a family of four around three weeks.