Police in Tāmaki Makaurau are getting a kick out of an initiative aimed at giving children in need rugby and football boots so they can play their favourite sport.
Over the past month more than 100 pairs of boots, many of them barely worn, have been donated by Police staff throughout the region as well as members of the public, as part of the Auckland Police Boot Bin project.
The boots have been cleaned and made over with new laces and will be donated to the community for those who may struggle to pay for boots for their children.
They will be donated at the ARL-hosted Kiwitag Club Nationals at Cornwall Park this Saturday, February 15.
Acting Inspector Mark Clayton, Youth & Communities Manager for Auckland Central, came up with the idea and says it’s an opportunity to give back to the community.
“It gives kids the opportunity to play the game they love without any financial burden on their families,” he says.
“We as Police are here to help our community, not just because it’s our job to do so but because we care. It’s great that the ARL have also gotten onboard and we really appreciate them allowing to use the tournament to help us with this initiative.”
Acting Inspector Mark Clayton says he hopes even more people will get on board with the initiative and more boots can be donated in the future.
“So please get in the wardrobe or garage and find those boots.”
Auckland Rugby League CEO Greg Whaiapu praised the initiative.
“This is a wonderful gesture from Auckland City Police and it’s something we are really pleased to be part of,” he says.
“We know access to boots can be a barrier to playing the game for some families, and this will make a real difference ahead of the 2020 season kicking off.”
The boot drive follows a similar initiative driven by Acting Inspector Mark Clayton at the Te Atatu Roosters Club, which has seen around 40 pairs of boots donated since December.
People in Auckland interested in donating boots can do so by bringing them to their nearest Police station.