A YMCA support worker is travelling all the way from Burton to Africa as part of a volunteer project to help children in Ghana.
Lee Henchliffe, 46, will be part of a team of 15 representing Burton Albion Community Trust (BACT) on a 10-day expedition, the fifth such trip undertaken in partnership with African Adventures.
The team will travel to the Volta region, which sits in the eastern part of Ghana, between April 9-19.
The trip – which aims to raise funds for BACT, support partner projects in Ghana and providing local people here with a life-changing experience – has been on hold for due years due to the Covid pandemic.
During the visit, volunteers will be teaching in schools and helping a three-year project to build a community library.
The trip will also help raise funds for African children who cannot access clean drinking water or food each day or go to school.
Lee, a senior support worker at Burton YMCA, said: “I really can’t wait to go – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
“I enjoy working in environments that Inspire people and this is a fantastic opportunity to experience a different culture, support people in need and contribute towards improving their community.”
The team will take two flights to get there – Birmingham to Amsterdam and then onwards to Africa.
Lee’s wife Stacey, a participation officer at YMCA, and their daughter Alisha, will be cheering him on.
“The project is all about leaving a legacy for the future,” added Lee, who has been with the YMCA for nearly seven years.
“I mainly work with young people aged 18 to 35 and support them with gaining the life skills to move onto independent living.
“Our residents range from homelessness, addiction and mental health issues.
“It’s an amazing job and I love it to bits – it’s very rewarding and every day is different.
“The trip will also enable me to put into use some of the skills I use here at the YMCA.”
In October, a new grant scheme offered community members the opportunity to apply for a fully-funded place on the trip and BACT was able to offer up 10 places.
Lee’s place has been sponsored by Richard Winterton Auctioneers, based at The Lichfield Auction Centre at Fradley Park.
Paula Senior, fundraising and partnerships manager at Burton YMCA, said: “We are thrilled that Lee has been given this opportunity to change lives overseas as part of the Burton Albion Football Club Ghana trip.
“Without the funding from Richard Winterton Auctioneers this would not be possible, so thank you. We can’t wait to see what the team do over there.”
The group travelling to Ghana also includes young people from BACT’s National Citizenship Service programme, BACT volunteers, community trust partners and members of the community.
John Widdowson, community and partnerships manager at Burton Albion Community Trust, who is also travelling to Ghana as part of the team, said: “We are extremely grateful to Richard Winterton Auctioneers for their support of our African Adventure.
“This trip has been a long time in the planning due to Covid. It feels great to be going back to Ghana and we couldn’t do this without the support of sponsors and supporters like Richard Winterton Auctioneers.”
Auctioneer Richard Winterton added: The work tirelessly carried out by Lee and his colleagues at YMCA to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society is absolutely awe-inspiring.
“The organisation has an important relationship with Burton Albion Community Trust and this wonderful partnership is making a massive difference to the community.
“We are delighted to support the Ghana project and with these inspirational people on board I know it will be a huge success.”
In Ghana, the group will be supporting Tegbi EP School – a government-administered primary school founded in 1946.
The school provides education to 550 children between the ages of four and 20, from kindergarten up to the third (and final) year of junior high school.