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I spoke to founder of Make a Difference, Thomas Zandin, who told me that “following meeting with the establishment coordinator and teacher, Alexandre Melo, of the local primary school of about 85 pupils, we gave them new and pre-loved sports equipment to use in their sports classes and to start the works of laying down artificial grass in the infants concrete play area, to give the youngest children at the school a transformed soft play area and most importantly somewhere safe to play.” He added that “they are grateful for Mike from Grasshoppers Greens help in supplying the grass, with the value of these contributions at about 2,000 euros.”

Thomas and Gunilla Zandin, moved to the Algarve “four years ago from Sweden and started the Make a Difference charity in Spring of this year, following their involvement in the Families in Need Charity, where Gunilla Zandin was responsible for the Faro area.”

“Make a difference is a private initiative amongst friends and family and our motto is Give a little – help a lot! During this time we realised that there is also a huge need for things that can make the children´s life a little bit easier.” The small group’s objective is to solve individual needs, whereby members can post on the Make a Difference Facebook page specific needs such as shoes, clothing etc and then once they are resolved we post the result. Thomas Zandin added that “we would like to start giving children experiences after the pandemic including tennis lessons or excursions for small groups.” “So far, the donations have resulted in; various sports equipment, shoes, school books and also in experiences such as a visit to a shopping mall where a little girl got the chance to shop around for a couple of hours and ending it up with a hamburger meal. The beaming smile on her face at the end of the day was really heart warming.”

”The group, G.I.T.S. (Golfers in The Sun), with 45 members has been a big contributor to Make a difference. Formed five and a half years ago by Susan Martin as a means of raising funds for local charities such as Santa Barbara Animal Help, ARA Loulé, Helping Hands, São Brás Volunteer Firemen, Dementia Portugal etc. They meet once a month at various golf courses for a social game followed by dinner and a raffle. Susan is very pleased to be helping Make A Difference in their quest to make kids´ lives more enjoyable. As well as donating raised funds from the GITS September golf event, also donated was a portable tennis/badminton net, balls, shuttlecocks and racquets.”

The school is currently starting a mural at the front of the school which Thomas Zandin has been told will include Make a Difference, as a token of the school’s appreciation. They would like to keep the group small and manageable but if you would like more information about Make a Difference and are genuinely interested in helping then please email Thomas Zandin at tzandin@gmail.com.