Charity, Young people, Columbia, United Kingdom, Training, NGO, UK
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The Dan Eley Foundation is a streamlined, cost-effective charity, whose objective is to help young people living in disadvantaged circumstances access educational opportunities, training, and other opportunities for self-development

Dan Eley worked as a teacher and an outreach worker before suffering a spinal cord injury during a diving accident while on holiday with friends in the Amazon in 2010. His injuries were life-changing, leaving him paralysed from the shoulders downwards and wheelchair bound ever since.


Dan spent one year in hospital, initially fighting for his life, and then facing up to the enormous physical and emotional challenges of being so severely paralysed.


After leaving hospital Dan was looking for a new purpose as a way to rebuild his life. Drawing on his experience as a teacher and outreach worker, Dan decided to start a charity to help enable disadvantaged young people access vocational training and be supported to find employment.


For 10 years The Dan Eley Foundation (DEF) ran a partner project with a grassroots partner charity in Colombia called: Fundación Educación para Todos (FEDUT). FEDUT run technical training courses for young people from marginalized urban areas in the city of Cali, and also operate as a recruitment agency helping to match graduates to employment vacancies in local companies.


Since the start of DEF’s alliance with FEDUT in 2012 we trained 800 students as accountancy and marketing apprentices. Many of the course graduates are now working in gainful employment, providing more economic security for them and their families.


Unfortunately, the alliance between the two charities concluded in 2022 due to a lack of continued funding for the programme. Despite this both organisations remain on good terms.


On a local level, since 2016, we have been supporting disadvantaged young people from local schools in Surrey. The focus has been on sponsoring specific individuals to undertake extracurricular activities, excursions, activities and/or training opportunities (for example DofE) that facilitate their educational and personal development. We have supported approximately 300 young people through such interventions to date. We intend to continue this targeted support to needy individuals during these difficult times we are living through.


Since the outbreak of Covid-19 we have provided financial assistance to six schools in Surrey, to help underprivileged pupils obtain and access vital educational materials and services, including donating laptops, musical instruments, and sponsoring excursions and residential trips for PP students, among other things.


More recently, we have been sponsoring private, extracurricular tutorials for core subjects, to support vulnerable students who are falling behind in their studies at school.


Dan hopes his life story will inspire young people to believe in themselves, and that they can make a success of their lives, despite personal obstacles.

Over 1000 individuals have benefited from our support to date.


Since 2016 we have been supporting disadvantaged youth in the Surrey area. We provide individual bursaries to students from low income families at local schools to enable them to participate in training days, Duke of Edinburgh exhibitions, and other vocational activities. Read more here

Flagship Program

Since 2012 we have been running a partner project with a grassroots Colombian charity called Fundación Educación para Todos FEDUT. Since then we have trained nearly 800 young people from deprived areas in the city of Cali as auxiliary accountants and marketing reps. Read more here

We are an efficient and streamlined charity with minimal expenditure on overheads and operating costs.

Our audited annual reports can be found on the charity commission website.


Even a small contribution can make a difference to someone’s life.

Dan Eley speaking at an event

Dan as a speaker

Since 2012, when Dan started his charity, he has been giving talks about the life changing impact of his injury and how to overcome such adversity, turning it into success and a more profound sense of fulfilment in life.


He has given talks to people of all ages in vast range of settings including motivational talks to corporations, to talking about life with disability to children in local schools.


“Dan delivers a very powerful and incisive talk which is equally moving and joyful. Indeed his is a personal story to remind us that the human spirit is indomitable. From his unique perspective Dan explains brilliantly how we can all do so much more than just cope with adversity.”