SOS IRB Kit Aid breaks new frontiers

(IRB.COM) Thursday 11 February 2010
 
 SOS IRB Kit Aid breaks new frontiers
Bill Beaumont (L) and John Broadfoot help to load the container bound for Samoa

SOS IRB Kit Aid will break new ground next month with a first ever delivery to Oceania and the distribution of much-needed training kit to the Samoa and American Samoa Rugby communities affected by last year's devastating tsunami.

The IRB-supported charity, which distributes donated Rugby kit and equipment from clubs, schools and suppliers in the UK, has dispatched a shipment of approximately 3,000kg of essential kit which is part of a wider package of measures from the global Rugby Community to support the affected Rugby-loving nations.

Triggered by a magnitude 8 earthquake, the tsunami caused extensive damage within Samoa, Tonga and American Samoa, causing fatalities and leaving many people homeless. The disaster spurred the global Rugby family into action with IRB Member Unions pledging support via a range of fund-raising and support initiatives, aimed at restoring damaged Rugby facilities throughout the area.

"SOS IRB Kit Aid epitomises the very spirit of teamwork that is so prevalent in Rugby. The kit, so generously donated by the Rugby family, will play a pivotal role in assisting the affected Rugby communities, replenishing essential kit that was lost in the tsunami. The delivery will provide a much-needed boost for community Rugby in these countries," said IRB Vice Chairman Bill Beaumont, who was present to see the shipment set sail and thank all those involved.

IRB SOS Kit Aid founder and Chairman John Broadfoot said: "The IRB engaged SOS IRB Kit Aid in order to assist those communities affected by the tsunami and we were delighted to get involved for such a worthy cause.

"The IRB covered the costs and I would like to thank UTI Worldwide Ltd, who have so generously assisted with a container that has over 3,000kg of basic Rugby kit, including 2,200 Rugby shirts. The kit should arrive in Samoa at the beginning of March."

Samoa Rugby Union Chairman Peter Schuster said: "The support accorded by the IRB in association with SOS IRB Kit Aid towards the rehabilitation of the Rugby areas affected by the devastation caused by the tsunami is gratifying and heart warming."

"The Samoa and American Samoa Rugby Unions are humbled by the spirit of camaraderie extended by such an action and the donation of rugby equipment would no doubt inspire and motivate the youths of the tsunami-affected areas to continue what they love best - Rugby."

The delivery is a further boost to the Samoa Rugby Union at a time when a new IRB funded £1 million High Performance Unit is being developed in Samoa to provide an elite environment to develop and optimse local playing talent for the Samoan national representative sides.

The landmark drop is an extension of what was a record-breaking year for SOS IRB Kit Aid, culminating in the charity being shortlisted for the coveted Beyond Sport Award. Deliveries increased by 18 percent in 2009, completing 32 drops across 13 countries on three continents, including first deliveries to Kenya and Bosnia & Herzegovina

"SOS IRB Kit Aid has delivered nearly £2 million worth of quality, recycled Rugby kit to some 16 emerging nations since it was established in 2000," said Broadfoot.

"In practical terms we have recycled and distributed nearly 60,000kg of Rugby kit donated by the Rugby community- kit that would otherwise be thrown away and left to rot in some landfill site.

"Demand for our services has definitely increased and we have a waiting list of 56 emerging Rugby nations wanting kit in addition to the 16 nations SOS IRB Kit Aid has already supplied over the past decade."

To donate kit or find out more about SOS IRB Kit Aid visit www.sosirbkitaid.org.