“Setting up the Trust, with the £1,000 legacy my father left me, is the most important thing I have ever done. Initially I was going to use the money to found a school or two in sub-Saharan Africa. However, I soon realised that it was a stupid idea because I knew nothing about building schools, or about the bureaucracy of it all. Instead, I decided to set up a website to draw attention to these one- or two-man band charities that are run from the kitchen table. So far it has generated about £3.5m.
“These small, yet very deserving operations are often brilliant at what they do, but they struggle to raise the necessary funds. I am in the fortunate position of being able to generate money for them by doing events like this forthcoming Epsom talk.
“I will go when they want me to go or when I’ve had enough, but at the moment neither of those is the case”
“We have two basic criteria. The first is that we help only those people at the very bottom of the heap, such as very poor and often orphaned children that need money to go to school. The second is that any charity we assist must spend no money in this country on administration or salaries.
“One of the biggest things that we do is to provide decent lavatories, especially for girls and disabled children. Many girls won’t go to school after a certain age if there are no adequate toilets.
“Another charity, in Malawi, makes wheelchairs. There are a lot of very poor children with club feet or other deformities that are unable to walk and therefore don’t go to school. If you can give them a wheelchair that they can’t buy for themselves, it changes their lives.
“I believe that education is what matters in the long run and that even the poorest should be able, in years to come, to feed themselves and escape the poverty trap.”
To book tickets to see John talking on April 5th visit http://www.epsomplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/day/2017-04-05