Ground-Breaking New Partnership Launched

More children from across the UK and overseas than ever before are set to have access to sport thanks to a groundbreaking new kit recycling initiative which was unveiled bby former England rugby star Matt Perry and cricket legend Mike Gatting OBE at The Stewart Hedlam School in Bethnal Green, East London.

For the first time, families, schools and clubs will be able to give their unwanted rugby and cricket kit which will be donated to disadvantaged young people in the UK and overseas. With lack of access to equipment cited as one of the greatest barriers to children participating in sport, LV= SOS Kit Aid has set an ambitious goal of providing young people of all abilities and backgrounds with over 20,000kgs of rugby and cricket kit before the end of the year.

To mark the new partnership, Matt Perry and Mike Gatting OBE were joined by former England cricket captain Allan Lamb and Welsh rugby legend Graham Price MBE to hold a series of rugby and cricket training sessions with children from The Stewart Hedlam School and then handed over sports kit donated to LV= SOS Kit Aid for the school.

LV= SOS Kit Aid will be hosting a series of regional Kit Aid days in 2011, the first will be staged in Bristol on the 11th May at the Gloucestershire v Northamptonshire cricket match and the second will be on the 19th June at Lord’s for the Middlesex v Kent cricket match. The regional days will be the precursor to a major national Kit Aid day later this year. Incorporating its sponsorships of the LV= County Cricket Championship and Anglo Welsh Rugby Cup, LV= will involve its staff in the donation, collection and sorting of all unwanted and unused rugby and cricket kit.

Former Bath and England rugby star, Matt Perry said, “I have been involved with sport pretty much all my life and seen first-hand just what a massive and positive impact it can have on youngsters lives. Sport can be so important in helping children develop strong values such as discipline and teamwork.

“It’s shocking to think that so many children don’t have access to sport which makes the work of LV= SOS Kit Aid so important. You can’t put a value on putting a smile on a kid’s face and in my experience sport is one of the best ways of doing that.”

David Smith, LV= HR and Communications Director: “Tonnes of sports kit is thrown out every year in the UK as children outgrow it or sponsors change, with large amounts ending up in landfill. Yet, there are thousands of children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are unable to try the sport as they simply have no kit. The work of the LV= SOS Kit Aid programme is vital in opening up sport to children from all backgrounds while also saving tonnes of unwanted sportswear from going to waste. We are a proud supporter of rugby and cricket in the UK and hope that this programme will encourage the next generation of talent into the sport.”

Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of The Lord’s Taverners, added, “The Lord’s Taverners is always looking at ways in which it can help to break down barriers preventing young people from participating in sport. What could be better as we look forward to welcoming the world to London 2012 than for British sports fans to give the world back its much-loved sports kit.”

John Broadfoot, Chairman of SOS Kit Aid, commented: “We are delighted to be now joining forces with The Lord’s Taverners to provide both rugby and cricket kit to an even bigger audience. The Lord’s Taverners have a wonderful record in the world of cricket, but unknown to many, they have also helped many rugby players too. Similarly LV= too have a great track record in both rugby and cricket and we all embrace the power of sport to improve children’s lives. We are very excited that such a team, along with the continued support of the IRB, will be able to reach even more children in the future.” 

SOS Kit Aid, previously known as SOS IRB Kit Aid, has distributed over £2m worth of rugby kit overseas, with the support of the International Rugby Board, since 2001. Today’s announcement included the news that LV= has signed up as the official sponsor and the initiative will be extended to cricket kit with the support of recreational cricket’s official charity, The Lord’s Taverners and endorsement by the England and Wales Cricket Board. For the first time, the two sports will work together to deliver the scheme which also promotes the importance of driving a sustainable environment.