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Date: 25 March 2022

Author: Rebecca Lewis

We have joined the team behind a campaign to enable more disadvantaged football players in the community to take part in the sport.

 

As principal partner and front-of-shirt sponsor of AFC Bournemouth, we are collaborating with the club and, for the first time, insurance company Vitality to launch Bring Your Boots.

The aim is to encourage members of the public to donate pre-loved boots or trainers to families throughout Bournemouth who would struggle to pay for new ones.

It comes after research revealed that nearly one in five families financially impacted by the pandemic said they would struggle to send their children to grassroot clubs because of the cost of replacing outgrown boots and other items of kit.

The donations will directly help those who are unable to afford new trainers or boots in the local community through the club’s Community Sports Trust, which operates various projects designed to help both adults and children take part in physical activities.

Members of the public can donate to Bring Your Boots at two drop off points: the AFC Bournemouth Superstore at Vitality Stadium during normal store opening times; and in the Junior Fanzone on first team home match days.

Vitality’s office in Bournemouth will also have a collection point to support the scheme and encourage donations.

James Hill, who signed for AFC Bournemouth on a permanent basis from Fleetwood Town in January 2022, is the campaign’s player ambassador and represents the first team squad in supporting the project.

Martin Higgins, Managing Director of MSP Capital, said:

 

 

“We’ve always seen our partnership with AFC Bournemouth as a way to not only support our local team but the local community as well.

“Bring Your Boots is all about helping to provide vital opportunities for those children who are passionate about playing football but whose families can struggle to pay for kit.

“Now is the time to dust down those trusty boots that served you so well in the past and give them a new lease of life for someone else to enjoy.”

Nick Read, Managing Director of the Vitality programme, said: “Supporting and enabling people to be active is at the very centre of what we do. We are delighted to be part of this campaign to enable more people to take up or continue playing football. We know that keeping active can make a huge difference to our long-term health. We encourage everyone to get behind this wonderful initiative and start donating.”

Steve Cuss, Head of Community at AFC Bournemouth, was also excited to be involved: “Physical activity has so many benefits and, through our community projects, we look to involve as many people from within community as possible. The boot recycling scheme removes a barrier for everyone to get active, as having the correct equipment is vital. We are very grateful to both MSP Capital and Vitality for their support with this initiative.”

Steve added that all footwear donated should be in a useable condition and have any additional accessories such as laces or studs still attached to the shoe.

According to a Utilita State of Play Report released in October 2020, of the 74% of families who admitted to being financially impacted by the pandemic almost a fifth (18%) said they would struggle to pay for upgraded playing kit for children returning to grassroots football.

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