BIG-hearted Cherries goalkeeper Asmir Begovic admitted a desire to help children "achieve their dreams" continued to drive his charitable work away from the pitch.

The former Chelsea and Stoke man started the Asmir Begovic Foundation four years ago with the aim of building and improving recreational facilities in England and in his birth country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Begovic's family fled the former Yugoslavia for Germany following the outbreak of civil war in the early 1990s and he also spent six years of his childhood in Canada before joining Portsmouth in the summer of 2003.

Understandably, the stopper fostered a desire to help his home nation rebuild, while also focusing on projects on these shores.

The foundation has driven a string of initiatives including co-funding the construction of a football pitch in Srebrenica, as well as renovating a multi-sport pitch at a special needs school in Tuzla.

A contribution to a new swimming pool at Stepgates Community School in Surrey was made, while changing rooms at Redgate Clayton FC in Newcastle-under-Lyme were upgraded.

Reflecting on the foundation's work, summer signing Begovic told the Daily Echo: "We got away from the trouble in Bosnia – obviously it turns your life upside down – and after the conflict stopped, I came back and saw what had happened and the destruction which had been caused.

"Of course, you want to try to help and to rebuild everything. The country went through a tough time but now it's time to move on from that and focus on the future and, hopefully, we can make a difference.

"People like myself can set an example for the next generation and if we can inspire them to do good things, that would be great.

"I have always been very passionate about giving back. I think people in our position are very fortunate. We have a lot of power with our names and profiles and are idols for many kids.

"I wanted to focus on one particular thing and that's why I started my foundation. I've had a lot of help from my family and other people to make it a success and we really wanted to make a difference.

"We chose the route of building sport facilities, especially at home in Bosnia, because they went through a very bad time in the past and it's a country which is rebuilding all the time, although maybe not at the pace it should do.

"We are trying to make a difference and trying to give kids the opportunity to play sport and achieve their dreams like I did, to learn better things through life, to get them off the streets and to be healthy and sociable – give them opportunities they maybe didn't have before.

"That's the main aim and drive. I believe in the power of sport and people, being inspirational and that's what we try to do.

"We try to do a couple of fundraisers every year which go a long way. If we can make a difference then that would be great."