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How your sports kits are changing lives in Liberia

Jennie Guest, President of Warwick Avon Rotary handing over football kit to Sarah Hill who will take them out to Liberia with LACES charity. Picture submitted

Jennie Guest, President of Warwick Avon Rotary handing over football kit to Sarah Hill who will take them out to Liberia with LACES charity. Picture submitted

A Kenilworth mum is packing up kits and cameras for a trip to Liberia to see how town donations are helping a sporting charity programme thrive.

Life and Change Experienced through Sports (LACES) was set up to change the futures of children in war-torn families and poverty in west Africa.

Using football and kickball to bring children together and learn new values, the charity now has a brand new base in Kenilworth where donations of old kits are flying in to help make a difference.

And hoping to do her bit, town photographer Sarah Hill will travel out to Liberia in May to document how the belief-based charity is changing hundreds of lives each year.

Sarah, who runs Gecko Photography studios in High Street, will take out donations of team kits, balls and football boots before returning to document her travels with an exhibition in the town.

And all in hope of bringing back a sense of the newfound self esteem, respect, discipline and teamwork which has come to over 700 children so far in a post civil war society.

“I am so excited to go out and see for myself all the good work being done,” she said.

“All donations of boots, kit of balls are much needed so get in touch if you can help.”

Sarah’s son plays for Kenilworth Town Under 14s, and being a member of Warwick Avon Rotary Club, she was able to collect the generous donation of kit to take with her.

Andy Ransberry, who set up the LACES base in Kenilworth six months ago, said it is “incredible” to have Sarah on board to spread the ongoing good work of residents.

He explained: “This is all about bringing values and a sense of future and achievement to children who do not have that in their lives.

“The coaching we do impacts on the lives of hundreds of children and gives chance for an education and to see things differently in their communities. All through sport.

“It is about conflict resolution and community above all else. These are children who are orphans or living on the streets or who have been brought up with no families.

“We want to instil these human values on a Christian base and change lives.”

He said since the programme has been running over 700 LACES children - who are chosen as the most at need - have been transformed with many returning to education, turn their backs on violence and learning to respect adults and each other.

All coaches are Liberian volunteers in communities where the difference is made.

LACES was founded around seven years ago by American traveller, Seren Fryatt who still works with communities.

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