Cameroon ex-pat founds global charity
A NEW global charity is being launched in Bolton to help some of the world’s poorest communities to a sustainable future — thanks to the experiences of one man.
Franklin Paterson has lived in the town since 2007, when he came to study at the University of Bolton.
He was born in Cameroon, in west central Africa, the youngest of six children in a family struggling to survive.
Mr Paterson said: “From the age of six I was earning money to help my mother get food for the family.
“She was on her own with us and we had no money. So, outside of school, I used to work for local businesses selling barbe-cue plantain (a type of banana) and got about £1 a time, which was used to feed my family.”
Mr Paterson did well at school and applied to come to the UK to study, choosing Bolton for his management and quantity surveying degree course.
He was successful in his studies, added a further year at the University of Central Lancs in Preston, and settled in Bolton, where he now has a daughter.
Mr Paterson said: “I always wanted to help people in poorer countries to be sustainable, to create jobs and businesses for a better future.”
As a result, he established The Gold Foundation to create funding to make this happen.
He gathered around him a local team, which includes established charity workers like Cath Whittaker and Janet Thompson, and they approached businesses and organisations to create an initial sum of £6,000 to pay towards a national fundraising campaign.
“The idea is to give people skills — including literacy and numeracy where necessary as well as other skills — to help with self-development,” added Mr Paterson, now aged 30.
“We have identified 10 of the poorest places in the world and in each one we are linking up with local charities to help people use what is available to them in that area.
“We find the finances to help them establish ways of being sustainable long-term, rather than constantly giving to any particular area.”
The idea has already caught the imagination of local business people like Mark Pollitt from communications’ company Digicomm BCS and Barclays Bank, both of which are Foundational Sponsors.
Mrs Whittaker added: “We have been amazed by the response.
“People are being very supportive and genuinely interested.”
As well as needing donations and financial support, The Gold Foundation is also collecting unwanted ICT equipment that can be recycled to send to the communities which are being helped.
“Within the next two years, we also plan to create teams of young people aged between 18 and 24 to become involved in dealing with the ICT scheme,” said Mr Paterson.
To find out more about the charity go to thegoldfoundation.org.uk or call 0300 800 0013.
Comments are closed on this article.