Did you know that PE at school is now an exclusive activity for some children in our city?

You might think, like us, that golf is an exclusive sport or motor racing.  You need a lot of money to make it or even make a start in some sports but PE?  At School?

We had a mum come to us to looking for football boots for her young boys.  She’d had a letter from school saying that all boys now needed football boots to take part in PE.  Now, we understand why a school might do that without really really thinking about the implications for some of its families but let’s just think about them for a minute.

If you are a low income family struggling to make ends meet and with the enormous energy price hike looming, your choice might be heating or trainers.

We have heard from teachers who tell us that siblings share PE kit, that children don’t come to school on PE day because they don’t have the kit and they’re ashamed.  You know that old excuse ‘sorry Miss, I forgot my kit’ - well maybe that really means, ‘sorry Miss, my parents can’t afford a PE kit’.

Just today we had a conversation with a sport organisation in Bradford.  A teacher pointed out to them the field next to the school, allocated for PE, which hadn’t been used since November because the kids didn’t have warm PE clothes.

In Leeds we have over 50 organisations that offer activities and food to children during the school holidays.  Leeds has been doing this brilliantly, well before Marcus Rashford shone a spotlight on the problem.  Healthy Holidays is funded by the Dept for Education and is targeted at children on free school meals - those children who are at risk of not being fed during the school holidays.  What we know is that many children arrive at the activity sessions and can’t take part for lack of a pair of trainers.

So it’s not just about playing sport, joining a club; it’s about the big, wide world of sport and activities being completely closed to some children

That’s why Leeds City Council and Yorkshire Sport are funding Together For Sport.

We are going to do all we can to unlock the world of sport for everyone.  We want sport clubs to let us know if they have kit new members could use to try out the sport at the club.  We want to hear from clubs that encourage a culture of sharing, passing on items that have been grown out of or no longer needed.  #NoKitNoBarrier

We’d like to network clubs with each other so that if one has a potential new member and no kit, they could reach out to another club for help.  No pressure, just an ask - ‘have you got some size 6 boots for a new member, could you put a shout out to your members?’.

We’ve spoken to a coach at a very big multi sport club today who is buying kit for children out of his own pocket.  We need to help him - we need to share our resources.

Together For Sport is about sharing what we have so that we can open the door to sport for everyone in our city, saving money and doing the environment a favour in the process.

Do you want to #JoinTheTeam and support the project? Please get in touch! Drop us an email at info@zerowasteleeds.org.uk.

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