Shoreham businesses urged to support raffle for boys without a father

A Shoreham-based language school is raising money to help fund a football-focused fortnight for boys from South Africa who have grown up without a father.

English Language Homestays has more than 25 years’ experience in hosting international students in the area, using host families.

Marike Colyn, centre manager at ELH South Africa, with the boys at the Ubuntu Football academy in Cape Town

Marike Colyn, centre manager at ELH South Africa, with the boys at the Ubuntu Football academy in Cape Town

It also runs a language centre in Cape Town, where it sends European students, integrating them into high schools in the area to help them improve their English and build on social skills while living in the South African culture.

Marike Colyn, centre manager at ELH South Africa, has recently been supporting the Ubuntu Football academy in Cape Town by raising awareness through fundraising events, and now the company want to take it a step further.

The plan is for ELH to offer two spaces for a two-week English and football training programme, to include full board accommodation, football coaching and visits to the Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion stadiums.

Jackie Verrall, ELH director, said: “We really love the idea of helping these boys through something that they love doing, like football.

“Even though they already speak English, let’s remember English is the second or third language that they learn, so offering them an English and football programme would be beneficial and will encourage even further progress.”

The Ubuntu Football academy is a non-profit organisation helping young boys who are growing up without fathers. The aim is to provide mentorship, education and a loving home until the boys reach 18.

Staff work hard to help the students develop into educated, bright and independent adults. One recent success was a 15-year-old called Jordan being offered a scholarship to play football in Pennsylvania.

Two boys will be selected for the ELH Football Academy with English programme, which will run in July next year.

Jackie said: “Even though the language school is happy to offer a complete free-of-charge, two-week stay on the football programme, the boys will also need flights to and from Cape Town, so the language school is organising a raffle in order to raise money for these.

“We are looking for raffle prize donations from local companies and all the money from the raffle tickets will go directly towards the return flights for the boys.

“We are reaching out to all the local shops and organisations, asking if they would like to get involved and help spread the word.”

The ELH football programme started in 2018, in partnership with Football Sussex FA and it successfully doubled the number of participants this summer.

English Language Homestays is based at 32A High Street, Shoreham. Telephone 01273 462772 or email for more information.