Introducing Sports Traider
Sports Traider is a youth-focused charity offering youngsters the kit and support they need to discover and fulfill their sporting ambition and potential, whatever their background, ability or disability.Sports Traider have established the first chain of charity shops in the UK that specialise in sports kit and equipment. The aim is to make clothing and sport equipment affordable to all, and at the same time generate a sustainable source of funding to help disadvantaged young people participate in sport.
We channel all the money we raise back into grass-roots sport within the community area from which it was donated. We encourage kids to try new sports and help talented sporting youngsters excel. For example, by organising community sport coaching sessions, access to sporting facilities, helping with club fees or transportation, getting talented but disadvantaged athletes to training and events.We firmly believe that community sport is an essential part of society and should be available for all, and never an inaccessible luxury.
Creating a level playing field
Not all kids have soccer mums and dads. Some families don’t have the time, the money or sometimes – sadly – the commitment to support their children through the expense and effort of taking part in sport.Take a teenager we know in Bedford. Let’s call him Joe. His mother died a few years ago, and his father can’t cope. He’s a talented athlete, selected to train at national level, but he often turns up to training with ripped clothes and broken equipment – if he turns up at all.For Joe to make training and attend fixtures on a regular basis, he needs support as well as money, and kids like Joe just can’t manage it without assistance.
That’s where we come in. Sports Traider will help Joe and thousands of kids like him to enjoy sport, get the kit they need and receive the support they need to excel. Kids like the ones in your community.We believe this will create a virtuous circle transforming community sport: the children who get opportunities and coaching now are likely to become the coaches and enthusiasts of the future.For us, sporting competition should be about talent, not about access to opportunity. That’s why our goal is about creating a level playing field for all.
Sport… for all
Our focus on sport is perfectly in tune with the Government’s desire to get more young people being active and look after their health. It’s something kids themselves are keen to do: On the back of the Olympic Legacy young people now have a new excitement about sport.The obstacle for many is the expense of doing their chosen sport. Quality sports brands are out of reach for many families and kids. And some sports – for example, riding and tennis – often appear simply as elitist sports. They are quite simply deemed too expensive for many children to try.
By making sports clothing and equipment affordable, Sports Traider will make sport more accessible for kids, regardless of their background.They and their parents will have access to a well-labelled, wide-ranging selection of items at prices which won’t present a barrier.Profits generated by sales of the items will be ploughed back into the community to provide access to sporting facilities at low or no cost to children from disadvantaged backgrounds or minority groups, or those with disability.
Sport… for the environment
Sports Traider is a highly sustainable concept.Children and young people grow out of clothing and kit so quickly. Rather than throw it away or let it moulder in cupboards unused, it makes sense to offer it to others.In the current economic climate, there is no stigma to second-hand goods. In fact it’s deeply fashionable. EBay and Amazon have educated consumers in the potential of pre-used items, while TK Maxx has encouraged people to rummage for different styles off of the rack.By reusing existing clothing and kit, Sports Traider will reduce waste to landfill and get the best possible use from items.
Sport… for employment and skills
We believe this project also has the potential to help train and upskill volunteers.We will use the Sports Traider shop and wider programme to create jobs and learning opportunities for school leavers who cannot find work, the long-term unemployed and disabled volunteers.Training programmes and on-the-job learning will teach soft skills such as team working as well as hard skills such as stock management, merchandising and customer service – not to mention increased self-esteem and confidence.
How it works
The revenues raised through Sports Traider will help children and kids across the country in the surrounding communities of our shops, get into sport.The accent will be on practical, grass-roots access for all, creating opportunities for those who would not normally have them. That includes kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, children lacking traditional family support (including children in care), kids with disabilities, and kids from groups with low participation levels in sport.We will fund time on tennis courts, in swimming pools, gyms and other playing and training facilities.
As participants advance in skills, we will help them acquire the specialist kit they need – clothing, footwear, racquets, and so on.We will promote group sports for young people by funding team strips, transport to and from fixtures, coaching time and access to facilities.For the talented and dedicated, we will help them gain membership of clubs or training facilities to ensure they can keep up their progress.And for the most promising and disadvantaged young people, we will seek to fund bursaries to the best specialist centres and training academies – including facilities overseas.
The story so far
Sports Traider was launched in Bedford in the Autumn of 2009.Through the support of Bedford Borough Council, Sports Traider has a shop in prime town retail space for the foreseeable future.Occupying two floors and over two thousand square feet, the shop is fitted out with key equipment.We acquire our stock – clothing, footwear, headgear, rackets and end-of-line garments and kit – through a number of channels.Since then, we have grown with shops in Watford, Luton and Leicester, with the opening of more stores across the country in the pipeline.
We have a number of permanent collection points, our recycling banks our strategically placed in local areas to our shops and are all branded with the Sports Traider logo.Local sports brands and retail outlets are invited to donate surplus, end-of-line or seconds stock directly.We also ask local schools and sports centres to get involved, because we believe that kids will jump at the chance to help their peers. On designated days, pupils will be invited to bring their unwanted or outgrown kit into school for subsequent collection.Through these different routes we are confident we will have enough kit to keep the stores well stocked and turning over.