Young people from Bristol celebrated the first regional day of the recently launched national LV= SOS Kit Aid scheme yesterday (Wednesday 11 May). The pioneering scheme, which is led by youth sports charity, The Lord’s Taverners, saw schools, clubs and members of the public donate their unwanted cricket and rugby kit for re-distribution to disadvantaged children, improving access to a wider range of sports.
The action packed day included a personal kit donation from Gloucestershire CCC players and a special coaching session held for local youngsters, prior to Gloucestershire’s home fixture against Northamptonshire at the County Cricket Ground in Bristol. Over 30 pupils from Millpond Primary School, Easton, took part in cricket and rugby coaching before helping to sort 500kgs of donated kit.
LV= SOS Kit Aid provides children in the UK and overseas with access to sport, many for the first time. The first regional Kit Aid day will directly benefit the Bristol StreetGames initiative, which focuses on delivering sport in a fun, accessible, affordable and inclusive way to young people of all ages in areas of high deprivation in Central and East Bristol. To encourage as many people as possible to take part in the initiative, Gloucestershire CCC offered a special discounted entry fee of just £1 after 1pm for anyone who donated a piece of kit.
Nicki Hanman, Senior Sport Development Officer for Bristol City Council, said "The StreetGames Bristol project would like to thank LV= and The Lord’s Taverners for their generous kit donation. The StreetGames project in Bristol works in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the city and country and this kit will enable more kids to take part in sport on their doorstep."
The Bristol regional Kit Aid day was the first stepping stone in the campaign’s ambitious pledge to collect 20,000kgs of cricket and rugby kit this year. The scheme has already attracted national support of celebrities and sportspeople, including endorsements by Ashes winner Steve Finn, former England cricket captains Mike Gatting and Allan Lamb, England rugby star James Haskell and England and Bath rugby hero Matt Perry.
Local rugby legend, former England international Gareth Chilcott, was on hand at the County Cricket Ground to add his support and offer some coaching tips to the Millpond Primary School pupils. Encouraging people to support the scheme, Chilcott said, “It’s so important for children to have access to sport and for many of us it’s something we just take for granted. However there are countless children in this country and around the world who don’t have that luxury and that’s why LV= SOS Kit Aid is so important.
“Like all good ideas LV= SOS Kit Aid is so simple. All you have to do is donate some kit or equipment you don’t use anymore which is gathering dust around the house and a youngster will benefit as a result – it really couldn’t be simpler.
Mary Wyatt, Head Teacher at Millpond Primary School, said “We just got back to school and we have a very excited group of Year 5 pupils! It was a day to remember and the best day they’ve ever had that will never be forgotten. Thank you so much to LV= SOS Kit Aid for making it such a wonderful day.”
Bristol is home to one of LV=’s largest regional offices and local staff members took time out to volunteer at the coaching and kit sorting sessions. Andrew Glatter, LV= Head of Corporate Social Responsibility: “Bristol is one of our largest offices in the country and it is great to be able to support local people here through the LV= SOS Kit Aid regional day. Bristol StreetGames gives local children from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to participate in sports, such as cricket and rugby, that they would not necessarily otherwise try. We are very pleased to support them and hope to encourage the next generation of sports talent in Bristol.”