Maitland Blacks juniors are giving barely used football boots a new life and saving parents money in the process.
Maitland Black Junior Rugby Union has launched the innovative recycling program with boots selling for $5 and last year’s training kits also available at heavily discounted prices.
Any boots collected that do not find a new home in Maitland will be packaged together with past season jerseys to be sent to help clubs and communities in the Pacific Islands.
Blacks junior president Dan Leadley said the innovative program was part of the ongoing efforts by the club to make playing sport as affordable as possible for all families.
“The kids feet grow so quickly, I’ve had seasons where I had to buy one of my boys two sets of boots as he had outgrown his first pair with a few rounds left to go,” Leadley said.
The club has also introduced a $50 come and try package to enable parents to send their children along to pre-season training sessions to see if they want to play rugby before committing to full registration.
“The $50 fee covers all their insurance during training and with the boots and training gear available for $5 it can save parents a lot of money if their children decide rugby’s not for them,” Leadley said.
“We are also happy to look at payment systems for anyone who would struggle to pay registration in a lump sum. With three kids and myself playing, I spread my payments.”
Leadley said links between the juniors and seniors would be further strengthened this year with all teams playing in the same jersey, with training shirts, socks and shorts all provided as part of registration.
“The only difference from our under sevens to the first grade team and the women’s team will be the sponsors names on the jerseys,” he said.
“The kids look up to the senior players and dream of running out for Maitland. To be able to wear the same shorts, socks and jerseys as their heroes is a big for them.”
Leadley said the club’s junior programs were going from strength to strength and on current numbers the under sevens was likely to expand to a 10-team competition from a record eight, involving more than 100 boys and girls, last year.
He said junior ranks involved boys and girls, but the Blacks were looking in the future to establishing girls teams as a pathway to the women’s team.
“As a club we’re really proud of our culture and what we are doing to make the game we love accessible to all,” he said.
The club’s next registration days are on Thursday and Sunday next week.