A ‘humbled’ Kenilworth photographer is getting ready to show how the town’s unwanted football kits are changing the lives of hundreds of children.
Sarah Hill flew out to Liberia to spend a week with groups who have been transformed by LACES - a charity which uses sport to help bring peace to war-torn countries.
The Kenilworth-run charity (Life And Change Experienced through Sports) teaches tolerance and community spirit through football and softball and relies on Kenilworth kit donations.
Thanks to town generosity, Sarah took out over 50 pairs of boots to hand to teams during her trip to West Africa where she met the coaches and children benefitting as a result.
Armed with her camera to document the families which have been saved thanks to the charity’s efforts, she is now looking forward to sharing the “fantastic experience” with an exhibition of images.
“It was a real eye-opener, it is just so different there and the way the children are involved is incredible,” she said.
“We took out boots that had been donated from Kenilworth where they had just been left lying around unused.
“But the impact they had out there was incredible, these children are football mad and just can’t believe how many we had for them to play in.
“You watch them playing often completely barefoot but they go down, and carry on with no fuss and never any arguments with the coaches.
“There is a real sense of respect and commitment and that is what it’s all about.
“I met grandparents who are now taking care of their orphaned grandchildren and it really is humbling and inspiring to see groups who now have the chance to go to school and get off the streets.”
The charity is run with help from Liberian officials in towns which want help from the scheme. They provide coaches who provide a monitoring programme for the children through sport.
Boys play football and girls take part in handball to bring a sense of community and belonging to get them off the streets and back into families.
Andy Ransberry, Kenilworth director of the charity, described Sarah’s work as “invaluable” and a great step in bringing the success of the charity back to those who have helped make it all happen.
“We are delighted that Gecko Photography is going to exhibit her work,” he said.
“Sarah’s photographs highlight beautifully the positive change and challenge of the children in everyday life.”
The exhibition will run in her High Street gallery between July 8 and 12 where all are welcome to see how their donations are making a difference to families and children.
LACES has been running from kenilworth since 2013
- It was founded seven years ago by American traveller Seren Fryatt who is still involved
- The Kenilworth base was set up by Andy Ransberry
- The charity works with Christian moral and beliefs to bring a sense of community to children
- It has now helped get hundreds off the streets and back in school and with family members