Monday 10 December 2012
Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar and defender Enda Stevens helped to launch the latest application phase of the Premier League Players’ Kit Scheme when they visited local school Streetly Academy to hand over the free football kit to the U13 girls’ side.
Through the Players’ Kit Scheme the squads of all 20 Barclays Premier League clubs donated £25,000 to the Scheme to create a £500,000 fund. The fund provide schools, clubs and youth organisations in England and Wales with a full set of strips and training equipment, and aims to particularly benefit teams from areas in most need of assistance.
"You know it’s something great because you see how happy everyone is"
Teams from U16 level and younger can now apply to receive a free Nike football kit and equipment as donated by Premier League players.
In its first season, more than 1,500 teams were selected to receive kits through the Players’ Kit Scheme, which is a joint initiative between the Premier League and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA). The teams successfully applied on www.premierleague.com during the first three application periods last season. A fourth application phase has now opened, and the Premier League is urging teams to apply for a project that has impressed Vlaar.
“I arrived here from the Dutch Eredivisie in the summer and we don’t have anything similar to this back in Holland,” he said. “This is a great scheme. We donated the kit to the girls at Streetly Academy, and you know it’s something great because you see how happy everyone is. It’s also fun to see that they wear a shirt with my name on it and that it means something for them.
“The work we do in the community is very important and this is a good example of where we are able to make a difference and contribute in our community. I hope the girls play well now in their new kit and most of all that they enjoy playing football.”
One of the 1,500 teams to benefit from the Premier League Players’ Kit Scheme last season was the Bolton Woods Junior Football Club in Bradford. Their general manager, Tony Miller, said: “Bolton Woods Junior Football Club focuses on socially and economically deprived areas of the city.
"Our players are also very aware of the role their clubs play at the heart of their communities to positively change lives for the better"
"We had tried many times to secure funding for new kit, so to get it free courtesy of Premier League Players’ Kit Scheme is just fantastic. It has given our club a sense of pride that the Premier League had taken a positive step in recognising us.”
Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said: “The PFA and the Premier League players are to be congratulated for developing this important scheme as a League-wide initiative.
"Our players are the guys who put on the show all the way through the season but they are also very aware of the role their clubs play at the heart of their communities to change lives for the better. The Premier League Players’ Kit Scheme will undoubtedly continue to help where it counts.”
Learn more about the Premier League Players’ Kit Scheme here >>