Underprivileged children in South Africa have been given the opportunity to turn their hand to rugby this summer thanks to Bath Rugby, the Southern Kings franchise and LV= SOS Kit Aid.
Representatives from Bath and LV=SOS KitAid travelled to Port Elizabeth yesterday to hand deliver approximately 60 assorted kits over the next few days, donated by Bath Rugby, Bath Minis and LV=SOS, as well as a full senior and junior set of Bath colours, to disadvantaged children in the area.
Gareth Chilcott, former Bath player and ambassador for LV=SOS KitAid, commented: "This is a great initiative, and it's wonderful to see the partnerships develop. Bath and LV= SOS Kit Aid already have a good working relationship, so it's fantastic to build on this support and be able to help a new group of children, who otherwise may not get the opportunity to play the game of rugby.
Bath's Marketing and Communications Director, Jez Curwin, added: "There's been a growing awareness of the work LV=SOS do throughout rugby in the UK, and as a Club we have been proud to support them. We've always had an excellent response from our supporters when we have asked for kit, so it's wonderful to be able to follow the kit's journey out to South Africa, and witness it being put to such good use."
LV= SOS Kit Aid Director Richard Westaway added " It cannot be underestimated the difference that a delivery of kit can make to these children. Not only does it give them an opportunity to play rugby, but being part of a rugby team can also keep them away from crime, drugs and alcoholism. We deliver to some of the most underprivileged children who are so desperate to play rugby, they are willing to play barefoot on tarmac because they don't have the right equipment. Our deliveries therefore show not only that there are people, like Bath Rugby and Southern Kings, who are willing to help and take an interest in them, but also that they have the chance to brighten their futures through sport."
Following this initial drop, another larger shipment of two pallets of kit will be distributed throughout the area on the coming months.
Luke Watson, former Bath and current EP Kings captain, has played a key part in developing the kit drop, and said: "We were thrilled to take part when Bath initially contacted us. This kit drop and future partnership is a really positive step, and one that will hopefully really help to develop rugby in the region. It will have a huge benefit on the local playing community and help some of the less fortunate children find a passion and skill for the game that they may not have had chance to play otherwise."
LV= SOS Kit Aid, supported by The Lords' Taveners , the iRB and the ECB , provides second hand rugby / cricket kit to disadvantaged children in the UK and overseas by collecting unwanted new and used kit from schools , clubs and other bodies. The programme makes a positive and tangible impact on young people's lives by giving children of all abilities and backgrounds the chance to participate in sporting activities. It promotes social inclusion and helps to protect the environment through recycling , since 2001 the project has sent £2m pounds worth of recycled kit ( = kit for 90,000 children) to 19 emerging countries in Africa and Europe.
For more information on LV=SOS Kit Aid, click here.