THE countdown has begun to Swindon Town Football in the Community Trust’s fourth visit to Zambia.

This year’s trip will take place in May and has had a fantastic boost with news that the Trust have been successful in securing funding from npower and the Football League Trust to develop and further enhance the existing partnership.

The extra funding will go towards taking a team of 10 staff, which is made up of five community coaches, one refereeing tutor, two npower volunteers and two NEETs (not in education or employment or training) to the African country.

The NEETs are all aged between 16 and 24 and these young people will be mentored by the Trust for eight weeks prior to the visit to Africa.

This training will prepare them for the community development projects that they will be delivering during the trip to Livingstone in Zambia.

The schedule for the 10-day programme has already planned, with coach education and delivery, disability multi sports coaching, girls development, refereeing tutoring and tournament football all on the agenda during the Trust’s visit.

Weekly contact with the Livingstone Coaches Association, which was formed by STFITC in 2009, has meant the programme of events is planned to meet the needs of the local communities in Zambia.

Away from football, and with the generous support of Cricklade-based charity Lights for Learning, the newly-trained staff will install solar panel lighting to a village school in the Zambian bush, enabling them to have village lighting for the first time.

This addition to the trip will mean that the school will be able to stay open longer during the winter months helping the children to spend more time developing their personal education.

Accompanying the visit will be over 600kg of football boots, kits, footballs and sports equipment that have been donated by local supporters of the Trust.

The latest boxes of donations were collected this week from the Trust’s main sponsors Intel, where staff has donated and collected sports kit and equipment.

The donations have been stored with the kind support from the Big Yellow self-storage, and will be flown out to Zambia sponsored by DHL.

Community Trust Manager Jon Holloway said: “Our Zambia Partnership is an inspirational project within our Community Trust.

“We have been able to develop community programmes in a small region of Africa, which mirrors the work we undertake here in Swindon.

“This has enabled us to create mutually beneficial partnerships for people within Swindon and Livingstone.

“This has now been enhanced with local school Crowdy’s Hill in Swindon twinning and forging meaningful relationships with schools in Livingstone, learning about life in each other’s countries.

“The extra npower and Football League funding will allow our team to deliver coaching and education to many more children and adults, further strengthening our links in Zambia.”