Newcastle based international children’s charity COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas) has appointed a sales and marketing expert to manage and grow its established events programme, which raises funds to support projects that improve the quality of education for children living in poor and marginalised communities.

Paul Bramley, from Sunderland, joins COCO’s full-time UK office team in the newly created role of business development manager.  Paul will take a lead in organising all aspects of COCO’s overseas challenges, including logistics, marketing and recruitment.  His objectives include growing the already established fundraising initiatives and developing new opportunities for the charity, which recently surpassed £4 million in money raised since its foundation.  Paul will also be responsible for managing an established UK events programme, such as the forthcoming Steve Cram Celebrity Golf Day, COCO Ball and a team of runners in the Simplyhealth Great North Run.  In addition, he will promote the work of COCO to a wider audience through networking groups and events.

Paul is well-equipped for the new role, having previously worked in an account/ new business development post with Offstone Publishing.  This followed his completion of a graduate programme with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, where Paul gained a grounding in all aspects of sales, customer service and account management.

A long-established advocate of COCO’s work, having participated in one of the charity’s Mount Kilimanjaro climbs during his time at University, Paul says: “I was already familiar with the work that COCO undertakes in East Africa and had seen for myself the positive impact fundraising can have on these communities after spending time in Tanzania.  When I came across the opportunity to work for COCO full time I thought the role would be an ideal fit for me.

“I’m really excited to have secured the role and I’m already enjoying the variety it brings; one day I can be trying to recruit people for our remaining Great North Run places, the next I will be communicating and negotiating with adventure companies for our overseas challenges.  Add in meetings with local companies to promote the work we do and attending networking events to try and encourage engagement with business partners, and no two days are really the same.

“We are a small charity but we are able to achieve big things and I hope to be able to positively contribute to the growth that will directly impact the communities that we work with in East Africa.”

Outside of work, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and is an avid football fan and season ticket holder for Sunderland AFC.  He also enjoys keeping active through running, and walking in the Lake District.

Lucy Kendall, CEO of COCO, said: “We are thrilled to have Paul on board as business development manager, joining our core team here in the UK.  It is great to have someone with his expertise, who is dedicated to delivering an excellent events programme and unforgettable participant experience, and promoting the important work we do to key stakeholders.  I am sure that Paul’s work will have a real impact on the expansion of our vital projects in East Africa.”

COCO was co-founded by Steve Cram CBE and British Army Major Jim Panton in 2000, and works with communities in remote regions of the developing world on projects that provide children with access to the education that is essential for a good start in life.  Since its inception, the charity has raised over £4 million to fund small, sustainable, community led initiatives.  COCO and its partners have now undertaken 56 transformational projects in 16 countries, positively impacting the lives of over 200,000 people.

For more information about getting involved with COCO’s challenges, including the remaining Great North Run places and the Victoria Cycle Challenge in Kenya email paul@coco.org.uk  To find out more about the work of COCO visit www.coco.org.uk, find the charity on Facebook or follow @COCO_Charity on Twitter.