We thought is was worth beginning the new calendar year with a good news story for all loyal Royals fans...
Surplus Royals kit was last year sent to the charity KitAid to freely donate to young football fanatics living in underprivileged communities across the globe.
Founded more than 21 years ago, KitAid began when Derrick Williams MBE attended a WaterAid supporters trip to Tanzania in 1998. On the trip he was frequently asked for football kit or equipment.
In a remote village he saw a boy wearing a ragged Liverpool shirt and took a photo. On his return, the photo generated a lot of comments and friends offered to donate old shirts.
Derrick arranged for a box to be filled and WaterAid agreed to send it out with equipment. The feedback from the kit recipients was so positive that from this one box, KitAid was formed.
KitAid remain passionate about enabling sports development and social inclusion through the power of football. The organisation achieves that by linking up with clubs at all levels of the football pyramid to donate no longer needed kits and pass this on to trusted partners working with impoverished communities across the globe.
KitAid now sends out more than 70,000 items of kit each year all across Africa, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. And since 1998, 605,000 items of kit have been sent out, enough to provide 40,300 teams with colours and equipment of their own.
And, in 2019, Derrick Williams MBE himself was accompanied by KitAid Trustee Thomas Enright and a number of other supporters on a trip to Malawi - with luggage containing surplus Royals kit from last season.
Their visit saw them donate blue and white-hooped home kit to youth teams who are part of the charity Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO).
FOMO Malawi is a community-based orphan care programme supporting more than 3,500 children through a network of 14 centres in Mulanje district of Malawi.
FOMO covers all aspects of the children's welfare including health through its outreach clinic, formal and informal education, food security and production. The programme also covers pre-school, out of school activities and further learning through its play schools, computer, driving and tailoring schools. The programme also covers the provision of school materials, personal items (soap, clothes, blankets, and mosquito nets) and community much more.
“We saw first-hand the joy this kit brought to the young people we met,” said Thomas. “We also learnt how the donation of kits had allowed FOMO to use football and netball to engage both boys and girls in structured sport and also to teach life skills, responsibility and personal development, massively improving the life chances of those with almost nothing.”
“I actually carried the some of the Reading kit in my personal luggage and it was handed out at the Mwamadi Centre in Mulanje District to the FOMO youth teams. It was incredible to see the smiles on the faces of the young players as they pulled on their new kit.
“The majority of these kids are orphans and they have next to nothing. They love football and so to receive a new shirt and be able to play in organised competitions means the world to them. A massive thank you to Reading Football Club for making that possible through this kit donation.”
Aside from delivering surplus kit and equipment to those most in need, we can confirm that via the sale of our limited-edition red kit last year, our supporters raised a magnificent £13,425 for Comic Relief.
This money is now supporting vulnerable people and communities in the UK and internationally as part of Comic Relief’s vision to create a just world free from poverty.
To all our fans who donated…thank you.
And if you would like to donate your no longer needed kits to Kit Aid, visit www.kitaid.net to find out how you too can make a difference.