Steve Cram works with Sunderland housing group on African solar energy project

Steve Cram with Sally Hancox director of Gentoo Green and Peter Walls gentoo Chief Executive. Steve Cram addressed gentoo staff about his Afica charity Coco.

Steve Cram with Sally Hancox director of Gentoo Green and Peter Walls gentoo Chief Executive. Steve Cram addressed gentoo staff about his Afica charity Coco.

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OLYMPIC medallist Steve Cram has helped a Sunderland company launch a new environmental initiative.

The former athlete visited Gentoo’s offices in Doxford Park to discuss the work the company is doing in Africa with his charity, Coco.

Housing firm Gentoo and Coco are working together to set up a fund to provide micro-loans in East Africa.

These allow families to buy solar lamps to replace harmful kerosene ones, which currently cause more deaths in African children under the age of five than malaria.

Steve spoke about the severity of the problem in Africa and what the two organisations are doing to help alleviate it.

The visit also marked the start of Gentoo’s new wider initiative, Planet Smart.

Gentoo believes that people cannot continue to impact the planet in the way they currently do, and plans to start a positive change from within the group with all members of staff being given the opportunity to get involved and do their bit to save the environment.

The company also wants to bring Planet Smart closer to home, by educating North East customers on how to be more environmentally friendly in their own homes, saving them time and money, as well as helping the planet.

Founded by Steve Cram in 2000, Coco is an international children’s charity working with communities in remote regions of the developing world to alleviate poverty which prevents access to education.