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YMCA South Australia partners to invite donations of used sporting equipment for disadvantaged children
YMCA South Australia has partnered with local social enterprise called Play it On in a bid to assist disadvantaged children participate in sport and recreation through the donation of used equipment.
A large collection of used stadium equipment from St Clair Recreation Centre in Woodville has been provided to kick off the YMCA’s involvement in the venture, along with the set-up of a permanent collection box for public donations of used and new sporting items and apparel.
The idea to donate used equipment was an initiative of St Clair Stadium Sports Director, Travis Beard, who said it made sense for the items to remain in use rather than be discarded.
Beard advised “we are a very busy, high use facility and need to ensure our equipment is in top order. That means regular replacement of a range of balls and sports items that are still in good condition and able to be used. We found we were accumulating a lot of old gear so started looking in to how we could give it away and found Play it On.”
Play it On is an Adelaide-based social enterprise that provides funding to assist children from families that are financially challenged, to participate in their chosen sport. Unwanted sports gear is collected, rejuvenated and sold online, with the profits raised creating a fund for children who can’t afford to pay sporting club fees.
The initiative is based on a successful model operating in the USA and Canada and was started in 2018 by founder and Chief Executive Theresa Brown. Brown, who spent 13 years working for Playford Council, said the organisation’s collaboration with the YMCA was a positive step for the initiative which was still in the start-up phase.
Brown noted “children should have the opportunity to play sport, regardless of their financial situation but unfortunately some families struggle to find the money to pay for their kids sporting club fees. At Play it On we don’t think any kids should have to miss out and we believe the Play it On model will help to address this.
“We’re thrilled that the YMCA has joined our push to ensure every child in Australia has the chance to play sport. The YMCA has impact across a wide section of the community and the partnership will help extend our reach. We are aiming to open our own retail store this year so need to grow our profile, range of stock and our funding base.”
Brown added that half the number of children in lower socio-economic areas participate in sport compared to participation rates of those in other areas, and that was primarily due to finances.
The collection of slightly used and new sports gear to Play it On is now being promoted at St Clair Recreation Centre, with plans to include other YMCA South Australia centres in the initiative in 2021.
Images: Play it On founder Theresa Brown and St Clair Stadium Director Travis Beard launch the new equipment donation partnership (top) and St Clair Recreation Centre, managed by YMCA South Australia (below).
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