An entrepreneurial university graduate from Bicester plans to build a football pitch in Kenya as the next move for his football kit donation charity.

“We hope to build the pitch in Nairobi, but we have a few potential sites we’re looking at. We’re fundraising for it now,” said Tom Sweetnam, founder of Kit4kenya.

Mr Sweetnam, whose family home is in Bicester, came up with the idea for the charity when he was 17, while tutoring Kenyan children in maths and English over zoom, during his studies at Radley College, in Abingdon.

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The footy philanthropist said: “I could see these kids didn’t have much, but they were all crazy about football, so me and my friend Archie decided to send them some kit.

“We started to collect football boots from mates and send them to Kenya, then we eventually got in touch with professional football clubs for support.

“We first spoke with AS Roma, then began working with Arsenal and England FA, and now we work with 12 different slum football teams in Kenya, and have donated more than £1 million worth if kit.”

The charity now regularly receives donations of kit from these major football clubs, which it then ships out to its partners in Kenya.

The Exeter University graduate added: “It costs £1 for us to send out a full kit, which includes shorts, a top and socks. We get the kit free of charge from the football clubs.

“The ultimate aim of the charity is to ensure that every child living in a Kenyan slum can have a football kit.”

Two years ago, the charity launched its student ambassador scheme.

Once accepted into the programme, the ambassadors are set the task of raising £1,000 by the end of their one-year tenure.

Mr Sweetnam said: “Our ambassadors are great, and they have brilliant fundraising ideas.

“One of our most recent guys was really passionate about rugby, so he started a Kit4Kenya rugby kit and used it for his sevens team.

“Another cycled from Lands End to John o’ Groats and raised £12,000.

“We also have a warehouse based in Milton Keynes, so we often have ambassadors come and help with packaging.”

Mr Sweetnam has visited Kenya once, before he started Kit4Kenya, and said he had planned to take a trip a few years ago but the Covid pandemic forced him to cancel.

He hopes to go out this Christmas.

He added: “We get sent great photos and video updates from the teams out in Kenya, and I look forward to handing out kits there myself soon.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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