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Shaun Barker Foundation announces new projects

The Shaun Barker Foundation is delighted to announce it has pledged support to 2 local charities. Both Enthusiasm and Down’s Syndrome - Derby are set to benefit from theFoundation with combined donations worth over £5k.

The projects both fit the ethos of the Foundation which was set up in late 2014 by formerDerby County Football Club captain Shaun Barker. In 2012 Shaun suffered a severe knee injury during a match – it was during his time on the sidelines that Shaun decided he wanted to do something to give back to the community that had supported him throughout this time.

The first charity set to benefit is Allenton based Enthusiasm, the Enthusiasm Trust was set up as a registered charity in July 2001. The core values of local people wanting to make a difference and see young people reach their true potential, remain and Enthusiasm have developed a unique approach to youth work by recruiting and developing local young people to become mentors to others in their peer group. This approach provides stronger foundations in local communities and promotes change from within to help to regeneratethe areas where we work. One of those mentors is Jack Walsh – The Shaun Barker Foundation is funding the first year of Jack’s apprenticeship in Youth Work so Jack can helpothers who are in the same situation he once was.

Jack Walsh, 18, from Allenton said:

"When I was 11, I was excluded from school and I lost my granddad who was my inspiration. I was fighting every week and I went downhill, smashing the house up and falling out with my parents. I was referred to Enthusiasm from school where I met my mentor Carlos who became 'like another family member'.

"To have the opportunity to work for the charity that has helped me turn my life around is a privilege and I can’t wait to help others."

Heather Russo Founder of Enthusiasm said:

“Jack has worked extremely hard to turn his life around – and now he is in a position to help others who are going down the same path as he was, who better to help these young people than someone who has experienced it themselves and come through it a better person.” She continued “I cannot thank Shaun and The Foundation enough, the opportunity this donation provides for both Jack and the charity is immense and will help change many more lives for the better."

The other charity set to benefit greatly from The Foundation is Down’s Syndrome - Derby, a local charity established over 30 years ago providing support to children and adults with down syndrome as well as providing a network of support for their carers, siblings and extended families.

The Foundation is providing a speech therapist for a year which will dramatically help the charity with one of their largest areas of cost. Mark Ratcliffe one of the groups volunteers said:

“The donation makes a huge difference to the provision of speech therapy we can provide, it is by far the biggest area of cost and one that can have the biggest impact on the quality of life for our members. We cannot thank Shaun and the Foundation enough – as a small local charity a donation of this size makes such a huge difference and provides support for the whole year."

The Shaun Barker Foundation was set up with the aim to help as many people in the Derby and surrounding area, supporting underprivileged children was at the forefront of it all. Shaun said: 

“From the very start of the Foundation being set up, I’ve been overwhelmed with the support and generosity of the people of Derby and the County as a whole. Four years in and we have created an exciting charity that helps raise money and awareness for three key areas close to my heart; Arts and Culture, Social Care and Sports in the Community,” he continued

“Giving back to others is one of the most rewarding things you can experience in your lifetime. As a professional footballer we always offered our services and time to help raise awareness for people less fortunate than ourselves; for every teammate I’ve played with, this part of their job is a great experience and a chance to interact with some great people. For me though, turning up for photos, doing interviews and maybe having a quick conversation at the end isn’t personal and rewarding enough. This is why it was important to me to set up a charity that would have a long-lasting impact and make a real difference to the lives of people within the community.”

If there’s any charity or scheme you see and are interested in, please visit the website to donate and help make a difference.

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