02/08/2014
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kits4causes at Birdfair 2014: can you help contribute?

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The Rutland Birdfair 2013 raised £270,000 for BirdLife International's conservation projects, which is a phenomenal amount. It is worth repeating that astonishing figure: £270,000!

This year, as well as all the usual mouth-watering attractions and events, something different is taking place. In conjunction with kits4causes (formerly Afrikit) and The Rutland Osprey Project, visitors — exhibitors and the general public — are being asked to bring along any unwanted (CLEAN!) football kit. This will be collected by the kits4causes team on Sunday evening and then transported to schools and villages in Senegal and The Gambia. If you are unable to contribute kit, then please consider donating money to help towards the cost of shipping it to Africa.

As you may already be aware, the Rutland Water Ospreys spend the winter in Senegal and The Gambia. There is already a scheme, set up by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in 2011, linking Rutland schools with pupils and families in these West African countries by way of the Osprey Flyways Project. The project has taken Gambian pupils out of their local villages and into the field to see the Ospreys to help foster an appreciation of the wildlife around them. Schools all along Osprey migration routes — North and South America, Europe and Africa and in the Far East and Australasia — are also being linked via the internet, Skype, Twitter, etc. This really is a case of birds bringing nations and continents closer together!


Children from Tanji Lower Basic School wearing football shirts donated by schools in Rutland.

More details can be found on the relevant websites (see below) but in the meantime, start delving in the recesses of your wardrobes and drawers in readiness to release your old football kit back into the wild. Some Rutland schoolchildren have already trawled through their bedrooms and sent out to The Gambia, though it doesn't have to be children's sizes: adults need kit too!

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It would be extremely helpful if you could tell us if you intend bringing some kit to BirdFair this August so we know how much to expect. Pledge your support at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/birdfairkits.

The kit (and any money donations) will be collected in the Osprey Flyways tent near the Events Marquee over the Birdfair weekend.

Important links

British Birdwatching Fair: www.birdfair.org.uk
The Rutland Osprey Project: www.ospreys.org.uk | www.ospreys.org.uk/osprey-flyways-project
kits4causes: www.kits4causes.org

Written by: Neil Glenn