George Lavender and the Football Chance Foundation
George attended the University of Bath, graduating with a degree in BSc Sport Performance. Whilst studying at the University of Bath, George was given the opportunity to volunteer on the IDEALs programme in Zambia in 2015 and then returned as the Programme Co-ordinator in 2016.
George has played football since the age of 5; playing for both professional and semi-professional clubs and representing his local counties. He has also been fortunate enough to volunteer and work in different communities and sport surroundings. This further enhanced his desire to use sport to help others. Football has always been his passion and to be able to combine supporting young people with this is something he thrives off. He himself knows how both education and football can play a major role in any young life. George has a real passion and determination to support young people and believes that every young person with the correct guidance can achieve their full potential. George believes being a mentor for a young person is not something that should last for a week, month or year, but it’s a lifetime commitment.
“I was lucky to have some amazing professional football coaches who not only taught us football but also taught us life skills and made us realise that football is a way of life not just a sport”
Football Chance Foundation was founded in 2016 by founder George Lavender. George made his first trip as a volunteer to Zambia in 2015 and while there, he soon fell in love with the country and was amazed by the young people’s enthusiasm for sport. During his time in Zambia and Mtendere in particular he began to widen his passion internationally and started thinking of new ways he could make a difference to support and help these young people.
After his second visit in 2016, as Programme Coordinator of the IDEALS project, he started to have regular conversations with his now programme manager Alfred in Mtendere. They planned to set up a football team in the local community, Football Chance Foundation, and within four months this plan was in motion and set up. Since being launched, the foundation has had vast amounts of interest from a variety of people all with different backgrounds who are keen to support the project and make a difference to the lives of these young people in both London and Zambia.
The beginning saw Football Chance Foundation set up and fund a football team who currently compete in a local league in Lusaka. The initial mission was to offer football to young people in a safe environment. The foundation now currently runs four programmes in Mtendere including; Football, Back-2-School, HIV testing and a Food programme. In total, the organisation currently engages with 400 young people each week in Mtendere. Football Chance Foundation creates a platform for young people to be able to play and engage with other young people in a safe environment; where unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse is a major social issue.
George then started to work with young people in London, delivering free football sessions to them and speaking to them and their families about school and life on a daily basis. He was then asked the question of, “Why did he not have a London base for his charity?” On reflection, George continued his work of mentoring young people and he started to build and deliver projects for young people across London. Such projects were delivered through his football and mentoring programme and he continues to work closely with local schools, communities and other organisations.
Our mission is to support and guide young people, providing them with new opportunities for personal development to become the best version of themselves.
Alfred is the Programme Manager in Mtendere. Alfred is 30 years old and is someone who has great passion for his local community, caring greatly about young people’s development. Alfred grew up in a village called Chimunthu in the district of Chongwe, life has not been easy. Alfred is currently trying to finish his last exams in education, which were cut short years ago due to family financial problems. But such challenges have never stopped Alfred wanting to support the young people in his community. He is committed to his community in all his does in order to provide the young people with the best chance in life. Alfred can tell you first hand the importance and power of football to these young children.