Chiswick Sports Initiative To Kit Out Local Kids
Plans to help families who cannot afford club membership
A new initiative has been launched in Chiswick to provide kit and fund sports bursaries for children who can't afford to join local clubs.
The programme, called 'Kit2Kids' is aiming to raise £10,000 before Christmas to pay for annual club memberships across a variety of sports.
The project was inspired by this summer's Super Saturday of Sport, when 500 children were given free coaching in 15 sports on Turnham Green.
Super Saturday was organised by Kirsten Lonsdale, but her husband, Andrew (pictured above) saw that there was a large number of children who wanted to join a club but were stopped because of financial constraints on their families.
"I was concerned that in our endeavour to introduce children to new sports in August, there was a large group of young people who were still not able to access sports because of affordability. I had to do something about it. Sport is about a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. Playing sport enables a child to be coached which is key throughout life because we are forever learning." Andrew said.
Kit2Kids has already attracted support from the Hounslow Borough's influential sporting clubs, including Brentford FC. The club has offered Kit2Kids the chance to sell 1,000 tickets for a special pre-Christmas home match on December 14 against Oldham Athletic. Half of the money raised will go towards the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and the remainder will be used to buy training places at Chiswick sporting clubs. The Chief Executive of Brentford FCCST, Lee Doyle is backing Kit2Kids because he sees sport as a vital social instrument particularly for young people who need a positive outlet.
"As well as the special family match day, we are going to provide some free and assisted places at our training courses at the Chiswick School during the holidays. Another idea we are discussing with Andrew is helping set up a second hand kit and sports equipment shop. There must be a lot of kit laying around in people's houses that can be donated and we can sell to raise funds for more training places at local clubs," Lee said.
Chiswick Rugby and Westside Basketball Clubs have donated free training places to young people already, as has the Feltham Bees, Ilyeo Taekwondo and the performance martial arts company, Animal Fu.
Chiswick School has also forged an alliance with Kit2Kids and has committed to identifying pupils who need financial assistance to achieve their sporting ambitions.
The Headteacher, Tony Ryan, says that a significant number of his pupils currently qualify for free schools meals, which is a fact that surprises many in Chiswick.
"Kit2Kids fits in perfectly with our ambition to encourage our students to take part in meaningful activity - outside of school. When I arrived three years ago we had 47% of Chiswick School pupils taking part in at least one hour of extra-curricular activity per week. Last year we achieved 74% and our target is to have 99% of pupils engaged in extra-curricular activity by the end of the school year," Mr Ryan said.
"We will help Kit2Kids sell the Brentford FC tickets and promote the programme because ultimately it will be our school population that benefits", Mr Ryan added.
Andrew Lonsdale is also aiming to forge relationships with Primary schools in Chiswick to ensure younger students are given opportunities too.
"I am committed that there should be an equal playing field for all young people in terms of access to sporting activity. Money - or a lack of it - should not be a barrier to anyone who wants to get into sport", Andrew said.
Anyone wanting to support KIt2Kids through funding a bursary, providing free training places or even to buy reduced priced tickets for Brentford v Oldham Athletic on December 14 please email:firstname.lastname@example.org
November 15, 2013