As the football season draws to close at all levels of the game, a Premier League initiative is helping grassroots teams across England and Wales prepare for next season.
The Premier League Players’ Kit Scheme has reopened for the 2012/13 season, with teams up to Under 16s level urged to get involved so that they can have brand new kit for the season ahead.
Launched at the start of this season, the scheme provides U16 clubs, schools and youth organisations in England and Wales with free Nike football kit and equipment, funded by players of all 20 Barclays Premier League clubs.
£500,000 worth of kit has been made available by every Premier League squad donating £25,000 to the scheme, which aims to particularly benefit those who come from areas in most need of assistance.
So far over 700 teams have been selected to receive the kits - a full set of strips and training equipment - including some Club Website users.
"Our team has loved winning this kit," club press officer and fundraiser Paula Clarke told Club Website.
"They prefer it to their home kit and would wear it to every match if possible. They have worn it to all tournaments that we have entered and a lot of other teams have asked them where they have got it from."
Sporting successfully applied for the scheme during one of the first two application periods earlier this season. A third and final application phase is now open and teams can apply via the Premier League website.
Everton defender Leighton Baines helped launch the latest application phase when he visited his old primary school in Kirkby, Merseyside to hand over the free football kit and training equipment in person.
Baines said: “It feels great to help the school out with the kit. I’ve got a cousin who works at the school who said they needed it.
"I’m not sure if they were still using the same kit from the time when I was here but by the sounds of it they might have been. The kids seem really happy. I’m sure it will go to good use over the coming years.”
Can I apply for the scheme?
The Premier League Players’ Kit Scheme is open to any club, school or youth organistation that meet the following criteria. To be eligible groups must:
• Be within the qualifying age group: Under 7s – Under 16s
• Include a scanned copy of their Safeguarding Children policy and appropriate Public Liability Insurance.
• Be affiliated to an English or Welsh league and provide the current affiliation number (if unknown this number can be provided by the relevant County FA or Schools FA)
• NOT have received a Premier League Players' Kit Scheme kit in a previous window
To apply for the Premier League Players’ Kit Scheme, please click here. The final application phase is open until 8 June.
Please note: As there are only a limited number of strips available, the scheme is a competitive application process and bodies applying for the kit will only be eligible to receive one team strip, irrespective of the number of teams they operate.
Team strips will only be awarded to those who fulfil all of the criteria. Priority will be given to those that come from areas that are deemed to be in most need of assistance.