This is blog 4 of a short series that has been written to give readers some of the context behind the reason that the Kicking Off charity has been started and why the town of Mpraeso and surrounding area in Ghana has been chosen for the first Kicking Off project. As the Kicking Off team builds up to the first ‘pilot’ tournament in March, we will publish regular blogs to add some personal insights into how and why each member has become involved in starting the charity.
Before really cracking down and organising the ‘pilot trip’ for Kicking Off’s first ever project in Ghana I had one more opportunity to go away, relax and see another amazing part of the world. I went for a trip to Hong Kong and the Philippines. I stopped in Hong Kong for about 4 days in total and enjoyed reminiscing around all the amazing places I’d visited when I was much younger.
The Peak is definitely a must see in Hong Kong and must be considered one of the most unique views in the world! The Philippines is also an interesting place, being that the culture changes so much from island to island. The Philippines had some of the most unbelievable beaches I’ve ever seen, but I’d only recommend it if you plan well and are a fan of taking lots of short flights from island to island. There was also a constant undercurrent (especially in Manilla) of the aggressive politics of President Rodrigo Duterte.
My trip to Hong Kong and the Philippines ended horrendously due to being mauled by an unfriendly community of Red Fire Ants, but, with a burning sensation and horrific scaring wounds on my back I returned to the UK with one mission – To assemble a team and book the ‘pilot trip’ for Kicking Off before the year deadline I’d set in my ‘Taking It Slow’ blog was up.
On my return to the UK I set about assembling my team from a wealth of incredibly talented and excellent friends. For the first trip, I wanted to make sure my team had both the skills I needed to achieve success, but also to be close enough to me that if the idea becomes a disaster in practice, they’ll still stick by me and have a good time travelling in Ghana all the same.
This blog will give a very basic introduction to the roles of each of my team for the ‘Pilot Trip’ and why I wanted them to come along.
Thom (The Cameraman) – For me it was essential to take a great camera man on the trip. Someone that would be able to produce a high quality daily Vlog, capture tons of footage for a slick promotional video, capture hundreds of shots for our Instagram and other social media pages and generally visually capture and document the first ever Kicking Off project in action. Thom is my housemate so it’s really easy to get work done with him and his upbeat, energetic attitude will be a real asset when we are in country.
Hattie (Project Support 1) – The other of my Housemates that is coming on the trip. Hattie and Thom come as a pair, but in her own right she brings a whole new dynamic to the team. Hattie will take a key role and proactive approach towards getting the items we need to make the tournament a success. When we get to Ghana she will be able to quickly forge relationships and prove invaluable support to the tournaments success.
Ellis (Project Support 2) – One of my best friends since I was little. Ellis is somewhat of a trump card for me being that of all the areas of law he could choose to practice he ended up becoming an expert on charity law. In the UK his core job will be getting the charity in ship shape to be officially registered with the charity commission. I mainly wanted him as part of my team to travel to Ghana because of his analytical mind, and love of football. I’m hoping Ellis will be able to make up for my shocking maths skills when it comes to tournament day.
Elaine (The Doctor) - For our project to succeed we will be offering the children free basic medical checks. Having my best Northern Irish friend who is also a doctor on the trip was a no brainer. She will be invaluable at forming connections with local hospitals, setting a standard for the medical checks we offer and coming up with a sustainable approach to Kicking Off providing medical checks. She’s an experienced Paediatric doctor and has experience working with children in Tanzania!
Each member of the team will write their own blog before the trip to explain in more detail how they are involved and why they wanted to support Kicking Off – so look out for them!
With my crack team assembled all that was left was to book flights and make it official. On 05/11/2016 the flights were booked for March 2017 and Kicking Off changed from being an idea with a pretty logo to being a real official thing.