In 2010 Steve Hirst set up a UK charity to support the work of the UCC in Ghana. The trustees who are all based in Birmingham UK work together to support the child sponsorship programme and raise funds for the UCC. More recently they have also become involved with raising support for the purchase of land and looking to raise money for a building for the school to move into.
Steve writes: My name is Steve Hirst and I am 30 years old. I lived and worked at the UCC for 2 years between 2008-2010. In this time I helped Billa with all aspects of the running of the UCC and also worked with him to set up this UK charity to support the work of the project in Ghana. I am very proud of the journey of the UCC and am very excited about what the future holds. I also run a project in my local community called ‘Rise Community Sports.’
Karen Writes: My name is Karen Tooley. I first visited the UCC in 2008 to help teach English and Art to the children who attend the centre. Since then I have visited Ghana and stayed at the UCC for a month every year. For the past five years I have taken a group of sixth form students from the school I teach at in the UK with me to volunteer. During this time I have seen the UCC develop from a centre for children to come and learn literacy and numeracy at before going to government school to complete their education to a fully functioning school with a broad curriculum and a clear structure. I have built lasting relationships with Billa and the children at the UCC and it certainly has a huge piece of my heart.
Paul Writes: Paul is married to Sally and has lived in Birmingham since 1990. He has worked at Birmingham Children’s Hospital since 2002 and also a tutor for a Children’s and Youth work collage, MCYM (where Steve Hirst was a student). He is also the Director of “Centre of Paediatric Spiritual Care”, www.bch.nhs.uk/cpsc which researches and publishes in the fields of religious and multi-disciplinary spiritual care in relation to paediatric daily, palliative, end of life and bereavement care. He has authored several books and helps edit others. He does this when he is not playing golf or cliff walking in Cornwall, ideally at the same time. He and Sally regularly blog at www.markerpostsandshelters.wordpress.com
Tim Writes: Tim is married to Ria and they have two daughters and numerous foster children living with them. Living in an estate in East Birmingham Tim is very involved in his local community, chairing the governing body in one of the local primary schools and a budding actor in the community theatre group! In his day job Tim works for an organisation called Worth Unlimited which works with marginalised children, young people and families believing that all have a God given right to live out their potential. In his spare time Tim enjoys biking and has recently cycled from one end of the UK to the other, films, reading, golf and is generally a sport addict!
Rachel Write: I live in Birmingham and heard of the UCC through Steve Hirst when he first visited in 2008 and helped to set up the UK charity in 2010. My main responsibilities within the charity are to manage the accounts and much of the UK e mails etc. I also help Karen with the child sponsorship. As well as this I work for Urban Expression doing admin and also support the Haven Community Project with my Husband. We have too many children so I have been forced into running to stay sain!