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Football kits given new lease of life in Africa

A junior football club based in Congleton has seen a snapshot of how its old kits are being put to good use by young players in Zimbabwe.

Over the years, Vale Juniors Football Club has sent unwanted tops to the KitAid charity, which was founded in 1998, to send sport equipment to those in Africa and the developing world who do not have access to such resources.

Vale Juniors treasurer Pete Proudman said: “We sent our kits about 18 months ago and we received the picture about a fortnight ago.

“It’s very good seeing less fortunate kids in Vale’s colours. I think our kids think the same as me – that somebody’s having it who isn’t as lucky as them.

“It’s not a bad advert for Marks and Sparks in Congleton, too!”

Explaining why the club got in touch with KitAid, he added: “We were accumulating old kits and we didn’t know what to do with them. It was an idea that we came up with, and rather than throw them away they were going to go somewhere where they would be used.

“Seeing those boys in our kit is a sign that we are doing the right thing.”

Mr Proudman said the club had sent two or three batches over the years and was planning to donate more at the end of the season.

Posting on social media, Vale Juniors said: “When our teams grow out of their kit or it’s time for a new one, we don’t just bin them.

“They are collected up and sent to KitAid charity who then distributes them to areas that need them most.

“We’ve just received these photos from KitAid from a project they are supporting in Zimbabwe, with the players sporting a kit sponsored for us by Marks and Spencer.”

It added: “A huge thanks to our treasurer Mr Proudman who has been doing this on our behalf for many years now.

“We’ve donated hundreds of kits during this time, all of which have made a difference somewhere.”

Vale Juniors has 28 teams, and each finds its own kit sponsor. Once the sponsorship is up, usually after two years, the kits are then handed back to the club to give them a new lease of life for children overseas in need.

In 2021, KitAid sent 114,328 kits to Africa and the developing world, with 820,952 kits distributed in total.

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