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From humble beginnings, Joe Sargison's Balls to Poverty charity has grown into an internationally-acclaimed organisation in an extraordinary ten years:
- 2004 - On a trip to Soweto township in South Africa, Joe gives a football to a group of children playing with a ball of rags. Their excited reaction gives him the idea for Balls to Poverty.
- 2005 - Joe takes his first group of students from Central College (formerly South Nottingham College) to Cape Town to hand out footballs and kits to youngsters in the townships. It becomes an annual trip every Easter.
- 2007 - Joe is invited to South Africa House in London for a fundraising event for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Balls to Poverty links up with the Donald Woods Foundation.
- 2009 - Joe wins ITV Central's Pride of Britain Award for the East Midlands.
- 2010 - Our Education Correspondent Peter Bearne joins Joe on their trip to South Africa for a feature series on Balls to Poverty. The charity begins work in Northern Ireland using sport to bridge the gap between sectarian communities. FifPro, the world professional footballers' union, endorses Balls to Poverty during staging of World Cup in South Africa.
- 2012 - Central College and Balls to Poverty programme wins the Queen's Anniversary Award. Joe accepts award from the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace. Balls to Poverty extends its work to slums in Uganda.
- 2014 - Joe leaves Balls to Poverty to take up role with the FA. In ten years, the charity has taken 300 students out to South Africa, reaching 50,000 African children, and distributing 30,000 footballs and rugby balls.
A sports coach from Nottingham who set up an award-winning charity to help youngsters at home and abroad is leaving to take up a key role at the Football Association.
Joe Sargison created Balls to Poverty (B2P) in 2004 after giving a football to children in South Africa and seeing how much pleasure it gave them.
Over the next 10 years, he took parties of teenagers from Central College in Nottingham to coach youngsters in the townships of Cape Town and hand out footballs.
The trips have proved life-changing for many of the British students who have inspired young children in Nottingham inner-city schools with their experiences and gone on to university.
Joe, who won ITV News Central's Pride of Britain Award for the East Midlands in 2009, says it was a "wrench" to leave the charity which has won acclaim around the world, but the FA job offer was just too good to refuse.
His new role will see him coaching and educating academy coaches at a number of professional football clubs.
However, Joe says there was never any question of Balls to Poverty coming to an end. He passes the reins onto his deputy, Julie Huby, who will now run the programme assisted by Ady Osborne and James Murray who are both B2P graduates. Joe will also retain an advisory role with the charity and will still join them on their annual trips to South Africa and Uganda.
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