The Dan Eley Foundation - Supporting Youth Initiatives
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 poverty, or at risk, access vocational training, mentoring services, and other opportunities for self-development

Surrey-born Dan Eley worked as a teacher and a youth worker before suffering a tragic diving accident and breaking his neck, while on holiday in the Amazon in 2010. His injuries were life-changing, leaving him paralysed from the shoulders downwards and wheelchair bound.


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 youth worker, Dan decided to start a charity to give access-to-work skills training and mentoring for youngsters living in poverty and precarious circumstances.


As well as supporting youngsters in the UK, The Dan Eley Foundation (DEF) runs a partner project with a grassroots partner charity in Colombia called: Fundación Educación para Todos (FEDUT). DEF & FEDUT run intensive job training programmes for young people from destitute urban areas in the city of Cali, and then helps link them with employment in local companies.


Since the inception of our alliance with FEDUT in 2012 we have trained over 600 apprentices. The majority are now working in gainful employment, allowing them more independence, and providing economic security for them and their families.


In the UK, DEF sponsors local partners who provide extra-curricular vocational skills training, Duke of Edinburgh exhibitions, and also mentoring services to young people in needy situations in Surrey.


Dan hopes his life experience will inspire youngsters to believe in themselves, and that they can make a success of their lives in spite of personal obstacles.

Over 800 young people have benefited from our support to date.


Fresh Start is the name we have given to our local work with 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. We also support programmes which teach life skills and provide mentoring services for young people living troubled lives. Read more here

Graduates from The Dan Eley Foundation Trust in Columbia

Since 2012 we have been running a partner project with a grassroots Colombian charity called Fundación Educación para Todos FEDUT. Since our alliance begun we have trained over 600 young people from deprived urban areas in the city of Cali as junior accountants and marketing and sales reps. The unique training model of FEDUT, which is holistic in its approach, teaches life skills, professional norms and provides vital technical training. FEDUT’s courses are Government accredited and successful graduates leave with a Certificate of Technical Training. Read more here


We have followed the progress of many of our graduates since the inception of our partner programme in 2012. Over half of our students have found and retained gainful employment in related field, usually in the face of significant personal obstacles and circumstances. Many have gone on to continue their career development at university. Read some of their stories

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 the smallest contribution can make a difference to a young person’s life.

Dan Eley 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.”