SWINDON Town Football in the Community Trust hosted the Zambian High Commissioner at the Robins’ clash with Yeovil last weekend as part of the ongoing relationship between the club and the African country.
The visit stemmed from the parliamentary delivery of overseas projects conference back in September, when Trust manager Jon Holloway gave a comprehensive presentation to MPs and charity chiefs on the STFC FITC work within Zambia.
Since the start of 2012 a regional steering group, designed with the intention of improving links with Zambia, has been formed, headed by Andrew Deuchar.
STFC FiTC, local special needs school Crowdys Hill, Swindon residents born and raised in Zambia and the Lights For Learning charity are all working together to strengthen ties with the African state, which is amongst the poorest in the world.
The Ambassadors visit started with a tea and cake reception at the FiTC community office before a trip to St Joseph’s Catholic School, where he witnessed the planning and preparation of this year’s National Citizenship Service Project as well as pupils from Bridlewood School taking part in a coaching session.
The Ambassadorial party then made its way to Crowdys Hill where a presentation was made to the Ambassador showing the work undertaken by the various organisations involved in the steering group in Zambia.
On returning to the County Ground, the Ambassador was the guest of honour in the boardroom and enjoyed lunch with Swindon Town chairman Sir William Patey.
Holloway, who has been a driving force behind the project, was delighted with the way the day went.
He said: “The whole day was a huge success which we hope will further enhance and give us a higher profile in our overseas delivery in Zambia.
“The Ambassador told us he really enjoyed his time with us and was looking forward to talking more in the future about our links within Livingstone in Zambia. We would like to sincerely thank Swindon Town Football Club for their continued valued support.”
Meanwhile, Calne-based Springfield Academy hosted the Swindon Town Football in the Community Trust special educational needs (SEN) trials recently.
Pupils from Crowdys Hill, Springfield, Downlands and Notton House were all present at the event, where nearly 30 youngsters were assessed by Trust coaches Clive Maguire and Dave Chapple and two teams selected for the 2012/13 season.
Maguire was delighted by the both turnout and the quality of the football on show. “It was a very worthwhile process and it was really encouraging to see the youngsters give it their all to try and be part of this season’s setup,” he said.
“The children come from all different backgrounds, where football is a very important part of their lives. All the staff from the special schools hold this event, along with the set of the squad, as a very important part of the children’s development.
“We as a Community Trust are very much looking forward to working with the teams this season and hope it proves to be as successful as last season.”
The STFiTC SEN sides will play a fixture at Marlborough College on Monday, February 18 next year. A further game, at the County Ground, will take place in May.