World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont has commended the work done by SOS Kit Aid as the charity celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Since its inception in 2001, SOS Kit Aid has been focused on recycling quality rugby equipment for the benefit of disadvantaged youngsters across the world, making more than 700 deliveries of kit worth £6 million. The initiative also complements World Rugby’s commitment to environmental sustainability as highlighted in the recently published strategic plan and demonstrated through World Rugby being a signatory to the United Nations Sport for Climate Action Framework.
As well as making a positive impact on young lives by promoting sporting activities, healthier lifestyles and life skills, the charity also does its bit to protect the environment by saving valuable landfill along with harmful CO2 emissions. It’s fitting then that the organisation celebrates its 20th anniversary on World Environment Day, a day established by the United Nations to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment.
A 20-year partnership
World Rugby is delighted to have been part of the journey from the start. John Broadfoot, SOS Kit Aid’s founder and CEO, won the 2002 IRB Development Award, while the non-profit organisation has also been a World Rugby Spirit of Rugby partner twice, in 2017-18 and 2019-20.
“It’s an outstanding achievement to have reached this 20th anniversary,” Beaumont said.
“The work that SOS Kit Aid has done and continues to do is so valuable, not only for the sport of rugby, but it has much wider benefits including social inclusion, positive life skills and friendship, not to mention the positive impact on the environment.
“It’s not an easy task to gather kit, package it and distribute to other parts of the world, and continue to manage and create those long-lasting and valuable relationships.
“I’d like to say a big ‘well done’ to everyone involved – here’s to the next 20 years!”
Embracing rugby’s values
Beaumont helped to package the charity’s first delivery to Oceania in 2010, when SOS Kit Aid sent around 3,000kg of essential kit to Samoa to support the Pacific Island nation in the wake of the previous year’s devastating tsunami.
In total, the organisation has shipped thousands of tonnes of equipment to 45 countries worldwide, while saving more than 1,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the process.
At the heart of the work done by SOS Kit Aid, which has launched a new website and logo to celebrate its 20th anniversary, has been an eagerness to embrace rugby’s vision of being a global sport for all while adhering to the game’s core values.
The passion of the charity and its volunteers is apparent in their desire to save unwanted kit from the back of the wardrobe, collecting, cleaning, packing and redistributing it to where it is needed most.
Promoting sustainable rugby through the ba7sic principle of reduce, reuse and recycle highlights the organisation’s respect for the planet, while raising much-needed funds and connecting rugby communities worldwide is a sign of their solidarity.
“I’m so proud to be celebrating our special anniversary this year and seeing all the good wishes and birthday messages from our partners, supporters, ambassadors and recipients is truly heart-warming,” Broadfoot said.
“When I created the charity back in 2001, I had no idea that we’d make such an amazing impact, and that we’d still be around 20 years later.
“I’m excited about the future for the charity and know that we can continue to make a positive impact on people’s lives, as well as continue to help save the environment, which we all know is more important than ever.
“I look forward to the next 20 years!”