A nation-wide campaign has been launched to give Kiwi kids in need greater access to sports gear after research found one in eight kids felt excluded from sport because they didn't have the gear.
The 'Donate Your Kit' campaign is a Cadbury initiative involving KidsCan, the New Zealand Olympic Committee and Paralympics New Zealand. It encourages New Zealanders to donate pre-loved kids sports gear by dropping it off in purple lockers that will be set up around the country from 2020. KidsCan will then redistribute the gear to those who need it most.
In addition to donations from the public, Cadbury has pledged to donate 10,000 items of new sports kit to children in need.
The research which sparked the campaign was conducted by Sport New Zealand and involved 60,000 Kiwi young people aged five to 17 years. Sport New Zealand's findings showed that not having the necessary sports gear was a barrier to getting involved in playing sports for one in eight Kiwi kids.
New Zealand Breakers captain and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Tom Abercrombie, and Paralympian Tupou Neiufi, who won a silver medal at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, are behind the campaign.
Says Abercrombie, "Access to sporting equipment is a privilege that many young kids can never enjoy... I'll be donating some of my best kit and encourage those able to do the same!"
Neiiufi says,"Just like children living with disabilities, those who do not have access to sporting gear are so greatly disadvantaged and the opportunities are not immediately available to them. These Kiwi kids have to work twice as hard to achieve their goals.
"Helping children in poverty and especially those that are disabled is something that is very close to my heart. I have grown up in a community in South Auckland where some children go without..."
She said she had been lucky enough in her sporting career to have the support of her family, friends and church community. She hoped New Zealanders would be generous.
KidsCan CEO and Founder, Julie Chapman, says the Donate Your Kit campaign is a "good first step" towards ensuring that participating in sports is an option for all Kiwi kids.
"However, there are many other obstacles experienced by families and children. Engagements with schools across the country have shown that young people in high deprivation areas are more likely to be excluded from sport due to the costs associated, as families often have to make the difficult choices of putting food on the table relative to giving kids the opportunity to participate. With Cadbury, we hope to help solve these broader needs and get kids from every community up and down the country enjoying sports."
The Donate Your Kit launch has come just days after New Zealand made global headlines for a World Health Organisation study that found Kiwi teenagers are among the most inactive in the world. Sport New Zealand spokesperson Geoff Barry said sporting organisations were responsible, in part, for not keeping up with what Kiwi kids wanted. Accessibility was also an issue, he said.
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