A SOLIHULL woman is using her experience in running a travel company and her contact with some of English football’s greatest stars to provide holidays of a lifetime for disadvantaged youngsters.
Kim Wood, aged 34, from Shirley, founded the charity Sun and Happiness a month ago after realising the holidays many of us take for granted were something some youngsters, from foster children to young carers and teenagers with disabilities, could only ever dream of.
Among her clients were several top Premier League footballers whose luxury villas she used to manage and it was that which gave her the idea for her charity.
Kim is now busy coaxing some of the country’s top players into donating a week of their luxury villas to the charity as the players all return to pre-season training.
Among the first football stars to pledge his support is England and former Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry. Barry, now with Manchester City, and Middlesbrough captain Matthew Bates are the first to hand over their keys to their homes in the sun and Kim can now start fund-raising to pay for the travelling expenses of the youngsters and their families or carers.
Kim, who has a four-year-old daughter Angelina, said: “We have had players from Manchester City to Newcastle and Sunderland among the first to offer to help and would love to get some of the Villa, Blues, Wolves and West Brom players involved too. Gareth Barry was one of the first footballers to donate his holiday home in Spain to this worthwhile cause, and his involvement will surely inspire many other celebrities to get involved.“
The charity has set up a text line so people can donate towards the costs of the holidays. Text the word KIDS to 70007. Texts cost £3 plus standard network rate. per text the charity will receive min £2.64 max £2.96 depending on network provider.