I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and here is wishing everyone a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2022.
Despite lockdowns and other Covid related frustrations KitAid has had an amazing 2021 with a record number of kits sent all across the globe. Here are the final end of year figures to enjoy.
Total number of kit items donated in 2021        =  114,328
Total number of kit items donated since 1998  =  820,952
 
Last year we sent out 74,421 items and in 2019, 86,445 items, which shows how much KitAid is growing. We are edging ever closer to the milestone of 1 Million items and we are on track to reach this in time for our 25th Anniversary in 2023.
Thank You
I often finish the monthly updates with a thank you but at the end of the year I think it is appropriate to start off with this.
KitAid is a team and we are really fortunate to have built up a Premiership winning squad of fantastic volunteers. Everyone plays a part and we appreciate this. We have some long standing stalwarts and some new signings but everyone makes a difference.
Thank you for your support in 2021, and the figures shown above reflect the difference everyone makes.
Highlights of 2021
 
Soon I will start work on the 2020 Annual Review and the test of remembering all of the fantastic things we delivered in the past year!
For me, without looking back at all of the hundreds of social media posts and monthly updates, I am most proud of the following
  • Setting a new record of donated items, working from containers in Hemel Hempstead, the storeroom in Hatfield and the Liverpool/Manchester links. With thousands of items of kit coming through from all of our regional volunteers.
  • KitAid Australia being set up, thanks to David Walker in Darwin.
  • Zanil, Haniff and Davie from the Kit Aid FC U17/U14 teams, receiving International recognition for Malawi.
There are plenty more and I would love to hear what yours are, as this will help me with the new Annual Review!
FOMO/KitAid Bonanza  
As I am writing this update hundreds of kids from all of the 14 orphan support centres across the Mulanje District, will be excitedly taking part in football and netball competitions. It culminates with the grand finals tomorrow and the glory for the winning centres to become the best at each sport.
KitAid with the help of Five Star Trophies in Hemel Hempstead has provided a medal for every child taking part. We wanted everyone to feel special and to have a keepsake to remind them of this special event.
Please look out for pictures on our social media sites over the next couple of days.
 
We have entered into a partnership with the above who run an auction site for, not surprisingly, match worn shirts!  They have links with every Premier League club kit manager and then auction the shirts after games to collectors.  You will be amazed at how much some shirts sell for, have a guess at how much some people will pay for a match worn Ronaldo shirt and then shock yourself by looking on their website!!
They are asking their customers to donate unwanted shirts to KitAid over the next month.
Thank You Certificates/ KitAid Supporter badges
As the beautiful gold enamel badges were so popular and all went so quickly, we have ordered another 100. If you missed out last time or know of someone who you think deserves one for their support of KitAid please let me know the details. They are the equivalent of our Blue Peter Badge, but far more sought after!
The 2022 Thank You certificate is currently in design and should be with you in a few weeks time. In the meantime please continue to use this year’s version or make a list of who to send one to once you receive the new ones.
I think that is everything for now and it just leaves me to thank you all again for your fantastic support in 2021. You have made an incredible difference to so many people all across the world, from Brazil to Samoa, which is a heartwarming way to end the year.
Take care, stay safe and have a Happy New Year.
Derrick
On behalf of the KitAid Trustees

KitAid is involved in some diverse projects, but who would have predicted our work could help protect chimpanzees in a Ugandan forest?

The following report explains how as well as reporting back on the 18 team tournament we sponsored.

BCCP Football Tournament 2021 – Report to KitAid (Dec 2021)

KitAid is delighted to announce Hibernian Community Foundation as a new member of our exclusive Ambassador Club.

This has followed the wonderful kit donation from the Hibs Girls Academy which was arranged by Lily Dixon and Academy Manager, Joelle Murray.

It is great to have Edinburgh represented alongside Airdrie and Stenhousemuir.

Happy Christmas to all KitAid followers and thank you for your support.

Bisong Football Academy – KitAid Donation

This film clip shows the power of donated kit and how it can make a difference in so many ways. The power of football is immense and having a proper kit to participate is just as important.

November was another busy month with some big kit handovers and here are the latest totals
Number of items donated in November  =  14,915
Countries  =  Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Care4Calais refugees in Slough
Total items donated so far in 2021  =  111,548
Total items donated since 1998  =  818,172
 
Eastern European project support
 
Over the past 23 years we have supported a large number of charities who work in cold weather Eastern European countries and for some reason we seem to have either lost contact or the projects have moved on and we are now looking to find some new partner charities to support.  We have close to 20 boxes of brand new cold weather coats from Reading FC, Watford FC and Manchester United, along with other winter sports kit.
If you are aware of any UK based charities who are looking for this type of clothing for Eastern Europe, could you please let me have their details. The boxes will need to be collected from the containers at Hemel Hempstead. As the items are all club branded they cannot be used for projects in the UK.
Malawi U17/U14 National teams
 
I think by now everyone is aware of how proud we are that Zanil made it through the national trials to be selected for the Malawi U17 team. Remembering of course that he is still only 15.  On Wednesday, he was in the squad to play against Botswana in an U17 tournament which was being held in Lesotho. Unfortunately he didn’t get called on but there are more games to play and the teams drew 1-1.
You may also have seen that from our brilliant KitAid FC U14 team, four players were selected for national trials. They attended last weekend and are waiting to hear if they will be called back for the final trial. Fingers crossed they will be and who knows where this could lead to for each boy.  We should also know soon who they will be playing in the National competition for District League winners.
As well as making us feel incredibly proud, it shows the depth of talent that exists for the FOMO children, and they are fortunate to receive the support from Mary, Keith and the team, to identify and develop this. Long live FOMO!
Boxing Up – Hatfield
 
After the very successful mini boxing up session held in October, we wanted to wait to see how things were in the Covid world and hopefully hold another session in December. There is also the usual juggling act of making sure we have enough kit to sort, enough charities who can collect and enough volunteers to help out on the day.
Unfortunately, with the advent of the very unwelcome new Covid variant and a combination of the juggling requirements not quite falling into place, we have had to play safe and delay things until next year.  Hopefully sooner rather than later. As soon as we are in a position to proceed we will let you know.
UK Support
 
As mentioned in the last monthly update, we are keen to support local projects where we can with unbranded or obscure (i.e. not UK teams) kit.
We have supplied a Care4 Calais project in Slough with a number of winter coats which had no branding, donated a few hundred pairs of socks to the New Hope Trust homeless charity in Watford and some lovely Olympic Marseille scarves and bobble hats to children who attend the Ngorli school in Watford.  We have worked with Ngorli for a number of years, supporting their projects in Ghana, but they also run a great Saturday morning school to help kids who are struggling at mainstream school here. They have teachers who support the kids with reading, writing and then for the older children, with homework and GCSE syllabus work. There are some lovely pictures of the kids on our FB/Twitter sites and they were happy with the scarves, hats and gloves even though they had no idea who Olympic Marseille were!!
Photos from 2021
 
As we haven’t produced a calendar for 2022 I will do a daily top 4 photos of 2021 for the 12 days of Christmas on Twitter/FB/Instagram. There are hundreds of lovely photos so do look out for them and if you have a particular favourite please let me know and I will include it.
Football/Netball Bonanza
 
FOMO will be holding their annual football/netball bonanza between Christmas and New Year, which is a major highlight for the kids who all come together from their 14 orphan support centres.
KitAid decided to give every child something to keep and remember the event and we have sent over 1.000 beautiful shiny gold medals on a  ribbon.  We received a big (50%) discount from Five Star Trophies in Hemel Hempstead and we sent the boxes over by air freight to make sure they arrived in time.  They did and we can’t wait to see the pictures of hundreds of kids wearing the medals at the end of the month.
2022 Thank You certificates
 
Another year flies by (apart from during lockdown!) and it is time to start work on the new Thank You certificates.
Once the photos have been chosen the next step is for Carole to design the layout. Once this is signed off it will go to the printers and I can then post them out to you or send the artwork.  All being well this should be complete by mid January and if you do need to hand any out in the interim, please keep using the current version.
Awards
 
I will get back on to my soap box and raise the thorny subject of despite all of the amazing things KitAid achieves, I believe our hard work mostly goes unrecognised!!!  At this time of the year I see so many charities posting about awards they have won and even though I know I shouldn’t, I can’t help but feel irritated that you all do so much, but we don’t get recognised.
I only raise it, as I haven’t got the soap box out for a while!, in case anyone sees an up and coming award event that we can realistically enter. They do involve a bit of work, which I am happy to do, so please let me know if you do see or hear of anything relevant.
Soap box put away now, until the next time!!
As I am writing this update, a tournament is taking place in Bangladesh, where we have supplied kits for the teams and local schools. This shows the reach of little KitAid and all of our efforts. We can now reach across different Continents.
Thank you for your support and I hope you all stay well and have a wonderful Christmas.
Derrick

October has been another busy month and here are the totals to date

Total items donated in October  –  11,903

Total items donated in 2021  –        96,633

Total items donated since 1998  –  803,257

Kit donated to the following countries in October, Liberia, Gambia, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria and Malawi.

 

Boxing Up, Hatfield

After a long and lonely gap of 18 months we were finally able to hold a “mini” boxing up session at Hatfield in person. Thanks to Affinity Water for giving us permission to use their facilities once again and thanks to everyone who was able to help out. It was lovely to see everyone after such a long gap and with a number of safety protocols put in place, the session went smoothly. We will continue to monitor the Covid situation and as more of us of a certain age receive the booster jab, we should be in a good position to hold a slightly bigger session once the storeroom fills up. Watch this space and fingers crossed, we may even be able to have the traditional KitAid photo under the Affinity Christmas tree.

 

William Hill Collection

Although the collection at shops around the country was held in the last two weeks of September, the donated kit was not actually delivered to the container until early October. We then held an outside count up thanks to our group of “retired” volunteers (thanks guys), and altogether 1,610 items were received.

From the donated items you could see certain regions, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds etc, had really got behind the appeal which is great. We know the BBC “Kit Out the Nation” campaign in September  had an impact but even so, the total items donated is enough to kit out over 100 teams.

Very many thanks to Sharon, Alex, Steph and the team at William Hill for arranging the collection and for their support. Hopefully there will be a repeat collection in early January.

 

Refugee Support

During October we teamed up with Care4Calais to support their refugee projects in Reading, Slough and Luton with unbranded but brand new football kits. Talking to the project leads it was interesting to hear how most of the refugees have very little to do and how football is not only a way of exercising, but a way of bonding. As they did not have proper kit they were playing in whatever clothes they possessed, often getting them muddy or damaged, with limited washing facilities. We were also able to pass on some brand new childrens winter coats to Afghan asylum families in Harrow.

 

KitAid Calendar 2022

Unfortunately the response to the question in last month’s update regarding potential interest in buying a calendar was limited and so, we have decided not to go ahead. It is a shame and it also means we have lost out on a fundraising activity, but for the amount of work/time involved, it is for the best. As 2023 will be a very big year for us, with the 25th Anniversary in July, perhaps we can do a special calendar then?

 

KitAid FC

Both U14 and U17 teams are top of the Mulanje District Leagues and sadly, the U14’s lost their 100% record recently.  As they have become the team to beat, an opposition team decided to play over age players to get a win. It didn’t go unnoticed and it has been reported to the League, but remains to be seen if the result will be voided.  However, since then they have won 5-0 and 10-0 and are playing again as I write this update. The winners of each District League will then go forward to play each other in a National competition, which is really exciting for the boys.

At the end of November, Zanil will join up with the Malawi U17 National squad to play in a tournament in Lesotho, with games against Zambia and the Seychelles in their group. What an incredible experience for him at 15 years old and an inspiration to all of the FOMO children. Good luck Zanil.

 

Sean McGuigan 

We couldn’t let the opportunity pass to wish our much loved Treasurer, Trustee and friend to all, a long and happy retirement after 30 plus years at Affinity Water. Sean was a pioneer in the very early days of inventing water and has enjoyed supping it in the form of an ancient Dutch form, also known as Oranjeboom!

Good luck Sean, enjoy your new found freedom and keep counting the KitAid beans to keep you occupied.

 

Thank You

It has been great to meet some of our new Regional Co-ordinators recently, even more so as they have travelled from Mansfield, Ashford and Chelmsford to support events. Welcome to Chris, Ben and Barrie. A very big thank you to all of our Regional helpers as we know you are doing a lot in the background collecting and storing kit for us. I really hope that one day we will be able to hold a proper get together, somewhere central for everyone, and celebrate properly. Now there is a thought for the 25th Anniversary in 2023.

September was another busy month with some big kit donations.  Here are the latest figures

Items of kit donated in September  –  16,005

Items donated so far in 2021  –  84,730

Items donated since 1998  –  791, 354

Kit donated in September to Malawi, Nigeria, Zimbabwe,Swaziland, Zambia, Gambia, and Ethiopia.

William Hill campaign

The Nationwide shop collection took place for a fortnight this month and we are very grateful to the organising team from WH for making this happen.  Special thanks to Sharon and Alex from Liverpool for getting the project off the ground and to Steph from Leeds for managing the project. All of the kit is being collected from 25 regional centres next week and it will then be delivered to the containers in Hemel Hempstead next Friday(8th). It will be fascinating to see how much has been donated. The amount will have been affected by the BBC “Kit Out the Nation” campaign and for the next WH collection in November/December, we won’t have this to contend with. Look out for updates on our social media sites next Friday.

Boxing Up – Hatfield

After a very long 18 months, we have been given the green light by Affinity Water to hold a “mini” session on 23 October.  This is really good news and it will be fantastic to have a proper sorting session together.  We have agreed to limit the numbers for this session and for those of you who are still to reply to the email invite, there are a few places still to fill.

Even though we have managed to send out 84k items of kit so far this year, it hasn’t been the same and our sorting sessions are more than just a 3 hour sprint.  We have missed the camaraderie, friendship and Sean’s eclectic mega mix of Vera Lynn to the Sex Pisols booming out across the room! And the Danish pastries!

Once we meet the new requirements at this session we should be able to increase the numbers again and soon be up to full speed.

We know that Everton Heritage Society has started to collect kit again for us before home games, so hopefully we will soon be looking at holding another boxing up at St Luke’s, Goodison.

Twitter

I never realised how much I look at Twitter until they very annoyingly blocked our site a couple of weeks ago!

It took me four days of emails, providing a copy of my birth certificate, passport and two emails to the UK CEO, to get them to believe that KitAid was not an 11 year old child when we created the account in 2009!! All because I had to enter a date of birth to be able to follow the William Hill site and I entered the date KitAid was founded rather than my own dob. You have to be 13 years old when creating a site and the robot calculated that we were 11 in 2009! I then spent four days talking to robots in California!!

I know not everyone uses Twitter but if you do, please join the other 3,057 followers we have. Just this week, a film clip of some guys warming up in a Reading FC kit was seen by 73,474 different people. This is massive exposure and it certainly helps to get the KitAid name out there.

KitAid FC

A very big congratulations to both of our teams in Malawi. After the first round of League games both teams are top and remain unbeaten. The U14 boys have won every game and have a positive goal difference of 18 and the U17 team has won 5 and drawn 3.

Zanil from the U17 team will soon be heading off for his first games with the National U17 team, which is a massive achievement and Mary has just arranged for him to get his first ever passport. He is still only 15 and he gives all of the FOMO kids something to aspire to.

Also we must say well done to the coaches, especially Noel and Gift, who have supported the boys since the very first KitAid FC team was formed.

KitAid Calendar 2022 

Many of you will have turned the page today on the 2021 KitAid calendar thanks to Jo pulling this together last year.

The big question now is, should we do another one for 2022? We have plenty of wonderful photos and Jo is happy to put the time in again. Before we commit to the time, would you mind replying to say if you would buy one again.  Please reply simply with a YES or NO to 2022 calendar.  

Sorry I don’t know how to add voting buttons and this may prove how many people read the monthly updates!!!!!!!!

London Marathon

Our long term supporter Jeremy (Rance) is running 26 miles on Sunday and raising funds for a charity that is close to his heart, after a friend was seriously injured in a skiing accident.  I am sure Jeremy won’t mind me saying he is just shy of a milestone birthday and he has had to train for two years due to Covid halting the event last year.

If you are able to sponsor him, here is a link to his Virgin Money Giving page

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?pageId=1142556#

As ever, we would like to thank all of our supporters, especially all of the Regional Co-ordinators across the country who do so much in the background to collect kit and to promote KitAid. The number of RC’s is steadily growing and we now have 32, with Chris from Mansfield and Barrie from Chelmsford recently coming on board.  We are very grateful to all of you.  To end on a positive note, I think the following quote received from a recent donation to a project in Liberia really sums up why we all do what we do.

Destiny said – “Thank you to Kit Aid for sending this equipment – it helps us to achieve in football and we help each other to achieve in education – it is important because education brings opportunity to become successful. Football talent alone is not enough. We are very happy you thought of us so we can play as a team and have fun, make friends and encourage each other in school and in our favourite sport. Thank you for your kindness”

Thanks and best wishes.

KitAid would like to say a very big thank you to William Hill staff and to the company, for arranging a nationwide UK kit collection at over 1,200 of their High Street shops.
The first collection will take place between the 13th and 27th of September, followed by two more in November and then after Christmas. Kit can be dropped off at any High Street shop between these dates and further information will follow once the November and January dates have been finalised.
We would like to say a special thank you to Alex and Sharon from the Liverpool region for putting KitAid forward for support.
Once all of the kit has been delivered to our containers in Hemel Hempstead we will update everyone on the amount donated.

The following project update from our charity partner in Sierra Leone really highlights the value of donated kit. It also shows how football is a release from the very hard lives these children live.

Report to KitAid 2021