Ipswich Town fans asked to donate their old football boots for African charity project

Colchester-based project Boots2Africa aims to send one million pairs of football boots to Africa by

Colchester-based project Boots2Africa aims to send one million pairs of football boots to Africa by 2030 - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town fans are being asked to send their old football boots to Africa, via a local charity, ahead of Saturday’s home game against Blackburn.

Boots2Africa will be hosting its first ever ‘pre-loved football boot donation event’ at Portman Road, in the FanZone from midday, ahead of this Saturday’s match.

It’s a small community interest company established in 2016 with the aim of collecting and delivering one million pairs of used football boots and astros to children and young adults across Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.

Previous donations have already been sent to Malawi via partner charities and Boots2Africa will be taking the next batch of 500 boots to Nakuru, Kenya in April with Colchester United’s Football in the Community programme and African Adventures.

Up to now donations have mainly come from Colchester and North Essex. The plan is now to branch into Suffolk, with a further visit to Portman Road planned for later in the season.

Iain Finch, who co-founded of Boots2Africa, outlined how the project got under way.

“It all started with a photo,” he said. “I saw a fantastic image on LinkedIn of a lot of boys sitting in a ring with no shoes on.

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“There are 10,000 children a year affected by snakebites and infections of the foot in Africa, which can be solved by them simply having something to put on their feet.

“I cleared out the garage and found 38 pairs of football boots between my two boys which they had built up over the years. I just thought ‘we can fix that’.

“I spoke to my two boys and we decided it would be a family project. Our target is to send one million football boots to Africa by 2030. It sounds like a big number but it actually isn’t.

“In Essex and Suffolk there are approximately 350,000 children of school age with more than 25,000 children playing football for clubs across the two counties every weekend.”

He added: “If you’re a member of a grassroots football or other sports club or have connections into local schools in your community and would like them to get involved in this new project that will help one million children to live a better life and play football, get in touch with Boots2Africa.”

Boots2Africa can be contacted by email via info@boots2Africa.co.uk, via their website, Facebook and can be followed on Twitter: @Boots2Africa.