A charity that collects unwanted sports equipment from across Rhondda Cynon Taff, is helping to make sport affordable and accessible to over 1000 children each year.

Play It Again Sport was established in 2016 by karate instructor Steffan Rees after he realised that children weren’t attending lessons because they couldn’t afford the classes or equipment. He also recognised that there was a mountain of unused and unwanted sports equipment lying around in people’s homes. As a result, Play It Again Sport was born.

The concept is simple. People can donate unwanted sports equipment, clothing, and footwear at collection points in nine leisure centres across Rhondda. The equipment is then collected, cleaned, and sorted, and either sold at a very low price (£2-£3) at pop-up shops or outlets like Siop Fach Sero in Ferndale, or it is donated to children who simply can’t access funds for these sorts of items. As a result, the social enterprise diverts more than 15,000 items from landfill each year.

Pontrhondda Primary School received a bulk donation of hockey sticks and balls from Play It Again Sport. Teacher, Mr Carroll said ‘The benefit of each pupil having their own hockey stick per session can’t be over-stressed.  It allows all pupils in the group to be developing their skills throughout each session and at their own pace.  It has increased engagement tremendously, whilst also learning a new team game, which they would otherwise probably not try.’

As well as collecting unwanted sports equipment and working with schools, local councils, and family engagement officers to distribute the items, Play It Again Sport also offers PE lessons in local schools, and has started running exercise classes for older people.

Cara Thomas, Family Engagement Officer at Maerdy Primary school said “We have been fortunate to have the Play It Again Sport team supporting us every Wednesday, delivering fun interactive physical lessons for our year 4 class. The children look forward to it every week and have built a confident relationship with the staff, who are friendly accommodating and reliable.”

Natasha Burnell from People and Work, who now runs Play It Again Sport said: “Not only are we managing a huge recycling operation, but we are also making sport accessible to children who otherwise may not be able to afford the equipment to participate in sporting activities.

“Most people I know, especially those with children, have an abundance of sporting equipment, clothing, and shoes that the children have either outgrown or no longer use, that is simply gathering dust in a garage or cupboard. We can offer a new home to these items by either donating them to schools and families and allow people to save people money when purchasing second-hand over buying something new.”

Climate Change Minister, Julie James said: “Organisations like Play It Again Sport are a simple way to help people make greener daily choices when it comes to re-using and recycling items, while also helping to reduce their impact on the environment.

“The more people can recycle and re-use, the more we can help to create a circular economy here, reduce our waste and help to create a cleaner, greener Wales.”

Play It Again Sport has collection bins in nine leisure centres across Rhondda as well as Cardiff City House of Sport. For a full list of donation centres visit – Donations – Play It Again Sport

For other ideas about how to re-use or repair items visit: https://www.climateaction.gov.wales/green-daily-choices/reuse-and-repair/