Sport For Life 23: Kit for All

Kit for All is making sport more affordable and sustainable

Kit for All initiatives across the country are helping to make sport and physical activity more accessible for thousands of people, while also making sport in Scotland more sustainable.

Kit for All is about offering recycled and pre-loved sports kit and equipment to individuals and families, for free. And from Shetland to North Lanarkshire people working on projects all over Scotland are making sure young people whose families might not be able to afford sports kit are able to see the benefits of sport.

Whether it’s pressure to own branded kit, having club-specific clothes, keeping up with new kit for growing children or for adults wishing to venture into a new activity, the cost of having appropriate clothing for activity can be a big financial burden. Forming a connection between good-quality second-hand sports clothing and those who need it can remove a significant barrier to sport for many, particularly in low-income areas.

Improving access to sport

A key part of the fifth cohort of the sportscotland Young People’s Sport Panel’s (YPSP) work was focused on improving access to sport and physical activity for other young people. With several similar recycled sports kit programmes already operational in Scottish communities, the YPSP decided to create a national initiative called Kit for All. This work is being continued by the current panel.

The idea was to bring existing projects together to share best practice and create a toolkit and information hub which would be promoted across Scotland’s sporting system to encourage more schools, clubs, community sport hubs and facilities to start their own Kit for All project.

The Young People’s Sport Panel provides a national platform to represent the voice of young people across Scotland. The role of the panel is to help influence and shape the future of sport in Scotland and to raise the profile of sport. The programme is supported by The National Lottery and its principle is that young people's views are heard and valued, and they have the opportunity to influence decision making and drive change.

Aileen Stuart started the Sport Bank in Alness to respond to local needs after hearing about young people who didn’t have enough sports kit to take part in regular sport at school.

Aileen said: “I have an Active Schools running group. It was a reminder that young girls, especially young teenagers, are not comfortable in their own bodies so often they find it awkward to do any kind of sport. They need a lot of confidence to be able to try a new sport, and not having enough kit or the right kit is going to knock their confidence.

“I work quite closely with the Active Schools Coordinator at Alness Academy, Karla Angus. There’s quite a big need at the academy. Karla would tell me that teachers would take the gym stuff of some pupils home to wash it so they could do P.E the next day. They knew it wouldn’t be washed at home and the young people didn’t have any extra kit for the following day.

“There are a lot of families who just don’t have money for sportswear and that was one of the main reasons we started it.”

Since the project started hundreds of items of clothing have gone out to those who needed it with a stall at a local food bank proving very successful.

Aileen added: “We were able to get the kit to young people who wouldn’t have been able to take part in sport or go to the gym without it.

“We’ve had a lot of donations since we started and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to get the vast majority of it out to families in the area.

“One young girl that goes to parkrun, every time I see her doing parkrun in a pair of trainers that we’ve been able to pass on to her, it’s a great feeling.”

Peterhead Sports Kit for All was launched in January 2022. The initiative has been a great success with drop boxes situated throughout the town, including at Peterhead Football Club and local schools and leisure centres, for members of the community to deposit their donations.

The clothing and footwear are then distributed by professional staff to be reused by young people in the area who will benefit from it the most.

Nat Porter, Community Liaison Officer at Peterhead FC, said: “The response has been overwhelming, the community have really supported the project by donating their unwanted items rather than throwing them away.”

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