Together for sport
There are children in our city who struggle to take part in sport and activities because they don’t have the kit they need. We don’t just mean playing football or joining a dance class, some children don’t have trainers and can’t do PE at school.
Sport kit and equipment is expensive and it’s not just the financial cost but also the cost to our environment. And then there’s the cost to our health - access to sport significantly improves both our physical and mental wellbeing. The Covid pandemic meant team sport had to stop, we were less active and of course our wellbeing suffered as a result.
So we started wondering what we could do. How many outgrown pairs of football boots or shin pads are there in the back of cupboards in Leeds, how many warm hoodies no longer fit or what about all those half mast tracksuit bottoms? What if we could open up this potential waste stream as a resource of sport kit and equipment and get it circulating round our city?
From our work on Leeds School Uniform Exchange which circulates free, second hand school uniform, we knew there was the potential to apply the same model to sport kit. SInce the launch in June 2020, Leeds School Uniform Exchange has grown to 273 exchange opportunities across the city with over 92% of schools covered by an exchange. Thousands of people are involved in exchanging uniform and second hand school uniform is now a genuine first choice for Leeds.
We know that people are inherently generous and that they want to help other people in their communities. We also know that people can feel disengaged from climate change and powerless in the face of it. Getting involved in sharing resources, things you no longer need or want, and choosing to use second hand, is a great way to be generous and sustainable at the same time.
For the past 6 months we’ve been working together with loads of amazing people and organisations across Leeds to work out how we can come together to make this happen and Together for Sport is the result.
Over the next 12 months we will be researching and mapping what is already happening around our city. There is plenty going on - we have two volunteer boot exchanges for a start, both of which can’t keep up with demand. We’ll find out what sport kit and equipment people really need and have to donate and we’ll be working out how we can open donation and distribution routes with leisure centres, sport clubs, community groups and schools.
We can’t do any of this without the help and support of communities in Leeds. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are involved in a sport club, community group or school and you either have kit to donate or you need some. Join us at Leeds Together For Sport and start exchanging straight away! And please help us spread the word - that’s one of the most powerful things we can all do - tell everyone we know what’s going on and how they can get involved to make second hand sport kit and equipment the first choice for Leeds.