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Coaching in life-skills through sports

Providing sports essentials and Bibles to help a fatherless generation in South Africa
At home and away

15 August 2023

Rozanne Gordon, Director at Helderberg Academy, sends us her news:

A timely gift

It has certainly been a winter season this year, plenty of rain and very cold temperatures. Thankfully our uniforms came at the perfect time – now we are warm and snug on the field. Thank you once again, to your supporters and you, for the generosity you have shown us at the Academy. We are truly so thankful.

We are running at full steam and are trusting God for continued provision for the coming months into the new year. 

Hike up Table Mountain

Each term we have a prize-giving which identifies the leaders among the kids. The winners from each community join together to go on the incentive day out. For the February trip this year they voted for a hike, for some their first ever. So we went on an epic hike up Table Mountain via the India Venster trail, and they did incredibly well.


It was quite a gruelling trail, especially for the first-timers, but they all made it to the top. We were meant to go back down in the cable-car, but unfortunately that was not possible because of strong winds. So they hiked down a different trail, the Platteklip Gorge. Altogether it was a total of about 5 hours up and down. Although they were a little sore the next day, they can certainly look back on this massive achievement as a highlight in their young lives. 


Home visits

During the school holidays we walk around the community, going from home to home, visiting the kids and their families – those that are available. We get an idea of what the families’ needs are, offer to pray with them, and get a better understanding of what the children's home-life is like and where their developmental needs are. 


During the winter holidays (July) we hosted our Holiday Club, at which we were able to accommodate 60 of the Academy kids. The theme this year was ‘Chosen’ (Ephesians 1:4,5) and we aimed at having the kids understand that they were chosen by God to be a part of his family. After loads of fun and games, and a hearty meal, they took some time out to look into their mirrors and see themselves through the eyes of the Lord. They then hand-crafted frames out of clay to hold their mirrors. They took their craftwork home, forever a reminder that they are chosen by God. We trust and hope that seeds were sown with growing effect.

Hike up Table Mountain
Leadership recognition

8 February 2023

Thanks to our generous donors we have been also able to pay for the coaches' uniforms. Once we have an up-to-date quotation we will be sending the money through to Helderberg Academy. The order will be sufficient to provide uniforms for 3 to 5 years.


This payment will be on top of the money for durable equipment and kit, which we sent on 13 December.

Give thanks in all circumstances

Lent 2023 appeal

A gift of friendship to give hope

1 December 2022

We have raised sufficient funds to pay for durable sports equipment and kit (boots and balls) to replace worn-out items, and have earmarked £838 for that purpose, which we are sending to them.

Meanwhile we continue to fundraise for them to provide the coaches’ uniforms.

From Hard to Hopeful

February 2022


Rozanne, the director of Helderberg Academy, has had a busy year and, despite Covid, has seen great attendance at each of their groups. In fact, three days were required for December’s beach trip to accommodate all the children. The kids were attracted by the termly prize-giving that was introduced, which also notably changed some of them as they strived for the awards. On 12 February the leadership award winners got to go on an outing – a sailing trip across the bay, learning about the National Sea Rescue Institute and its vessels, and enjoying lunch and an ice-cream, all sponsored by the yacht clubs.


Rozanne has introduced the celebration of the children’s birthdays, which excites them enormously. Unfortunately, though, the usual holiday clubs have not been held since the first Covid lockdown.


However, there are exciting plans for this year and beyond. Firstly they want to continue with the successful activities they have started. These include the termly prizes and the leadership awards and outing, birthday celebrations, and Christmas gifts. Secondly they would like to start some new initiatives in leadership, holiday clubs, and training for the coaches, who are older children.

Having identified some very promising girls and boys who are emerging as leaders, they would like to start a special programme, which would entail short courses to nurture their leadership characteristics.


They would like to resume holiday clubs this year, if Covid rules permit, enhancing them by inviting guests to educate and inspire in areas such as animal rights, recycling and human trafficking – these should help open their minds to the world beyond their own communities.


As many of the children have daily suffered all kinds of abuse and neglect, Rozanne would like her coaches to do short courses to better equip them for dealing with the resulting emotional and mental health issues.


In addition there are some items of equipment needed: some of the sports equipment and kit (boots and balls) needs replacing, preferably with better quality, longer-lasting items; it would be really encouraging to provide a uniform for the coaches that they could keep; and a replacement car will be needed soon.


Rozanne has asked for prayer for the deeper needs of the organisation – for children’s hearts to be changed from hard to hopeful, that they would positively influence their homes and environments, and most of all that they would find Jesus. The coaches can be instrumental in that transformation. They all need to use their time wisely, and Rozanne, a single mother, especially requests prayer for endurance so that she can continue wholeheartedly to pursue the amazing calling God has blessed her with.

December Beach Trip

December Beach Trip

In the sea

Leadership Award Winners

Leadership Award Winners

Trip round the bay

Leadership Award Winners

Leadership Award Winners

Tour of National Sea Rescue Institute

Leadership Award Winners

Leadership Award Winners

Trip around the bay

Leadership Award Winners

Leadership Award Winners

Trip round the bay

Leadership Award Winners

Leadership Award Winners

Trip round the bay

December Beach Trip

December Beach Trip


December Beach Trip

December Beach Trip

Games on the Beach

December Beach Trip

December Beach Trip

Games on the Beach

Leadership Award Winners

Leadership Award Winners

Outside the National Sea Rescue Institute

Leadership Award Winners

Leadership Award Winners

Lunch at National Sea Rescue Institute

Riots and Covid in South Africa

July 2021

Rozanne writes, "It’s so encouraging to know that people across the world are concerned for us. Yes, what is happening has been devastating to experience. There has not been any riots in the Western Cape where I am, there have been some warnings it may start this weekend and we have been praying against it. Our beloved Beth [previous director of Helderberg Academy] and her family are in the thick of it in Kwa-zulu Natal, Thankfully they are safe and we have been praying for them daily. I have family in Gauteng that has been affected but are thankfully safe as well.

"The Covid situation has once again deteriorated, we are currently experiencing a 3rd wave with the new Delta Variant and have been moved to lockdown level 4, Schools closed early, gatherings are prohibited. This has now affected the academy again and we have not seen the children in 3 weeks. Some of them have communicated with me and they seem to be ok, however some have mentioned being scared with the possibility of the riots this week. I encourage them to continue to pray for courage and strength. I trust that God will protect and provide for them as he has throughout the pandemic."

Continued Contact Despite Lockdown

April 2021

During the lockdown Rozanne has been able to visit the children, divert funds to tackle Covid, find new sports grounds, renew contact with existing grounds, and continue planning for the post-pandemic situation.

Rozanne began meeting with the children at their homes, and found them in good spirits. They were delighted with the gift bags she had prepared, which included a face-mask, sanitiser and some goodies. She has found a great new sports-ground, and is resuming with an existing contact; with all the grounds she has to devise a way of working within the Covid regulations.

For the moment, sports are allowed again, within the regulations. So they are at last able to use the equipment they purchased from the grant we gave them last year (pictures expected soon). The money they hadn't spent by the time of the first lockdown has now been diverted to buying the gift-bags. They will let us know as and when they need a top-up.

Disappointingly a third wave of the pandemic is expected in South Africa, so in the meantime Rozanne is putting further planned changes on hold.

New Strain of Coronavirus in South Africa

January 2021

The new strain of coronavirus that hit South Africa last year is reckoned to be 50% more infectious.  As a consequence, cases have surged, and the country is back in a severe lockdown, as we are in the UK. Sports are therefore out of the question, and the fallow period for this ministry continues. Rozanne is using the time to prepare for release after restrictions are over, and to consider what can be done in the meantime.

Update: Coronavirus - How it Affects this Project

April 2020

On 26 March South Africa went into nationwide lockdown, which has been quite a challenge to deal with as the core of the Academy is the children they work with, and now they are not able to see them.  


Covid-19 has prevented their planned holiday club and their usual home visits. In an effort to stay connected with the children, the week before lockdown they managed to meet with each community and hand over some activities for the children to do at home. They have subsequently started a WhatsApp group where they share a daily activity and encouragement with the parents in the hope that they will share these with their children; this they will continue for the duration of the lockdown. They have also endeavoured to contact the parents by phone as a substitute for the home visits.


Just before the lockdown, they were able to buy some of the items specified above, but of course they cannot for the time being use them. We are expecting to receive pictures once they have resumed coaching.


In the meantime we have told the Academy to feel free to divert remaining grant money to buy essential items they may need in their response to the pandemic.

As of 19 April there had been 54 deaths in South Africa caused by Covid-19, equivalent to 16 March in the UK. Please pray.

Project Launched

March 2020

Among the problems South Africa faces are what is said to be the biggest gulf between rich and poor of any nation on earth, and a very high proportion of fatherless families. Both these problems are addressed by Helderberg Academy, a South African charity founded by Beth Veenendaal, past member of a church to which one of our trustees belongs.


The Academy works in the town of Somerset West, near Cape Town, in the Helderberg ('clear mountain') area of South Africa. Here you will find children who know who is their father but don't know them as a father. They can point to them in the street, but don't live with them and have little or nothing to do with them. Fatherlessness is associated with behavioural problems, homelessness, missed education and attempted suicide.


The Academy addresses these issues in the underprivileged community by teaching life skills through sport, and encouraging and supporting children as they grow up, to help them reach their true potential. Children often do not get sufficient physical exercise at school, and they miss out on the emotional and social development that comes from being an active member of a team.


The aim is for children and teenagers to grow in self-esteem and in relating to others (especially to those from different races or cultures), and in their physical and mental development; also to give them an opportunity to play and have a break from home responsibilities.

That is achieved through weekly sports coaching in football, netball, rugby, dance, etc. These promote fitness, health, and values such as respect, responsibility, courage and empathy. Also by giving youngsters experience in leadership or coaching, they develop leadership skills and learn to be role models in their communities. Occasional holiday clubs are also run, giving the opportunity for more time together.

What we Provided

We have sent a grant of £802, made up as follows:

  •    £230 for one year's supply of balls for monthly prizes given to the most-improved boy and girl in each community

  •    £173 for one year's supply of Bibles for monthly prizes as above

  •    £105 for two sets of eight slalom poles for weekly sessions and holiday clubs

  •    £105 for netball, rugby and football balls for weekly coaching

  •    £189 for 12 sets of socks and boots for children that regularly attend


All the images on this page show the recent work of Helderberg Academy. The money we have raised will extend and protect this work, and photos will be uploaded once available.

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