Thursday 22 November 2012
Ahead of the re-opening of the Premier League Players' Kit Scheme this week, premierleague.com looks at the positive impact the inaugural year of the scheme had.
By the start of the 2012/13 season, 1,500 U16 teams had received free Nike kit and equipment from the £500,000 fund donated to by the first-team players of all 20 Premier League teams last season through the scheme.
The squads of all 20 Barclays Premier League Clubs contributed £25,000 each to provide clubs, schools and youth organisations in England and Wales with free football kit and equipment. The scheme targets those who come from areas in most need of assistance.
Clubs, schools and youth teams throughout England and Wales applied to receive football kit and equipment through the Players' Kit Scheme. One successful school was West Blatchington Primary School in Brighton and Hove. Their P.E. Coordinator John Mills describes the school's need for a kit and what it meant to have one donated.
"Earlier in the year some lead was stolen off the school roof causing a leak in our P.E. cupboard. The leak destroyed our football kit along with most of our equipment.
"Replacing the kit and equipment would have cost over a fifth of my annual P.E. budget for the entire school. Despite having a real love of football, I would have found it difficult to justify spending that amount on football shirts when I have to resource physical education for over 400 students from reception to Year 6.
"Football at our school will continue to bring our community even closer"
"The Players' Kit Scheme allowed us to receive football equipment without sacrificing other programmes. The kits have already made a difference. Our girls' team recently played in a tournament and we are already planning to enter at least seven competitions over the next four terms with our girls’ and boys' teams.
"But as well as influencing our ability to participate in events, the kits have made a difference to how cultures blend at West Blatchington. We are a very multicultural school, with the girls' football team alone having pupils from Bangladesh, Brazil, Jamaica, Ethiopia and Yemen. They have been taught to recognise and celebrate diversity from a young age, and have been exposed to extremely diverse classrooms from the age of five.
"At the recent tournament, however, I noticed that by playing football, it brought the parents from different cultures together. I saw parents mixing as they watched the matches; that integration doesn't normally happen at the school gates. I know football at our school will continue to bring our community even closer. It’s amazing the impact one set of football kit can have."
VIDEO: Jamie Carragher returns to his former school where he awarded his kit >>