It started with a promise
When Oliver Brendon first visited Zambia in 2009, he was staggered by the number of orphans living in abject poverty without basic needs such as access to clean water, toilets or an education. He made a promise to Presley, the volunteer headteacher at Mikuni village, that he would come back to help them build a school.
On returning to the UK, he became involved in raising money for these children and approached Just A Drop, a charity providing water and sanitation facilities across Africa. Initially, his company, Attraction Tickets Direct (ATD), donated enough to fund the first large-scale school project which involved digging a borehole and building teacher houses.
That one promise has since supported 18 Zambian schools, helping more than 7,000 children get access to clean water, adequate sanitation and a quality education.
Over the last decade, Oliver has taken out a team of his staff to Zambia to see the progress of the projects, raise awareness and to decide on which new projects to fund. It was on a trip in 2017, upon playing football with children at very remote schools, that he decided to establish the ATD Foundation.
Since the inception of the ATD Foundation, we have collaborated with six local charity partners, who have enabled us to reach and help thousands of the most vulnerable young people in Southern Zambia. The water, sanitation, school and football projects that we have funded have improved the livelihoods, education, health and prospects of children and families living incredibly tough lives. Our close partnership with the Livingstone Youth Football Academy has shown us the enormous positive impact that organised and inclusive football can have on young people’s lives and on their communities.
Play it Forward was born
The ATD Foundation and the Livingstone Youth Football Academy have united to form a new body: Play it Forward.
Play it Forward was developed from a vision that people’s love for football can be used to build opportunities. This new partnership is the foundation of a fresh and exciting strategy, built on the experience we have accumulated, the local insight we have gained, and the passion that continues to inspire us. We will continue working with our existing partners and projects to reach the most vulnerable young people in Southern Zambia, using football to change lives. As before, the trustees will cover all of the running costs so that every penny that we raise goes directly towards projects we support.