This is blog 3 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.
Upon my return to the UK from my Drunken Canadian Adventure, I knew that I needed to create a strategy for starting my charity. My strategy would need to balance a full-time job, playing in a band, travelling for myself, keeping fit and the general socialising that comes part and parcel with living in London. With this in mind, the key focus of my strategy had to involve keeping things ticking along and building nicely, but within the parameters of it being a slow-moving venture to fit alongside my already busy life. My one key objective was to run a trip within the next year.
From the start, I knew I wanted to have a clear branding and ‘look’ to portray to the outside world. A key part of the charity I wanted to start involved having a slick, interesting and dynamic online presence. Something worthy of impressing the football industry and businesses alike. Before I promoted to anybody that I was starting a charity I consulted one of my friends who happens to be a talented graphic designer. After explaining what I was doing and what I was after (I’m a horribly difficult customer when it comes to design work – apparently ‘spicing it up’ isn’t good feedback in the design world.), she was able to take my mumbled, confused ideas and create a logo that I felt was perfect for the charity. It was something that wasn’t overly complicated and gave out a clear idea of being a strongly branded charity.
Once the branding was in place I approached an old contact ‘Rebeca’ from my time in Ghana 2010 with an idea and a branding that looked the part. It was completely logical for me to make returning to Ghana the first project for Kicking Off. I’d been before and I knew it worked, it was still going to be a lot of work, but it was almost an easy win to start the charity off on a good foot. After re-establishing contact with the lovely people who looked after me when I was a much younger traveller, I began working with them to slowly organise and plan the first trip/ tournament.
At this time, I had to begin learning what would be a very difficult lesson – learning to take it slow. As much as I’ve written above that I knew balancing my life around the creation of Kicking Off would be essential and I would need to plan to include realistic deadlines and targets. It was easy (especially for me) once I had the branding in place to get over enthusiastic and dive in too deep too quickly, especially with the things I enjoy doing. Trying to remember this lesson and staying calm will go on to become a constant theme throughout most of these blog posts!
When you start a charity, or have a new idea that captures people’s imaginations, everybody knows somebody who can help, and they want to help you by offering an overwhelming amount of support. It’s the hardest thing to explain to people that really care about your success or failure, that you can’t accept their support until you’re ready for it! This period of setting up the charity was where I found this the hardest, I was still just working out what I wanted to achieve and do with the charity and couldn’t say whether I would need peoples support or not! If you ever have anything you feel might be useful in helping Kicking Off achieve our goals, please let us know, at this time to avoid offending my best friends and family I started a big list of people’s useful contacts and potential ideas and will be looking to make use of it as and when we may need it in future, so any suggestions are gratefully accepted and really appreciated!
It had taken 7 months but with the vaguest of plans formed with my Ghanaian contacts I was finally in a position to start putting together a crack team that would help me prepare effectively and carry out the very first Kicking Off tournament.