The Flemish Community Commission (FCC) and Brussels running club Les Gazelles de Bruxelles are co-launching a shop for second-hand sportswear, hoping to make it easier for people of all income levels to take up a sport.
“Sport is not only good for our health, it also brings people together. We want to do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for people to start a sport,” said FCC Commissioner for Sport, Youth and Culture Pascal Smet.
“The new second-hand and give-away shop for sportswear makes sports more accessible for many people, provides employment and becomes a meeting place for every sports fan.”
A lack of sportswear is one of the main barriers for people in a vulnerable situation to start playing sports, Smet says. This is the primary motivation behind creating “Sportswitch,” as the store will be called.
Both the sports sector and the FCC have already taken several initiatives in the last few years to help pay registration fees of sports activities for people with a limited income. But those living in poverty indicated that every additional cost on top of the registration fee – like the purchase of athletic clothing – poses a problem.
Stamp cards for purchases
Sportswitch opens on Saturday 29 January, both online and as a physical shop (located on the site of GC Nekkersdal) for Brussels residents to buy sportswear using a stamp card. Low-income residents will receive a stamp card for free each year, while other residents will pay €15 for theirs.
Volunteers from Les Gazelles de Bruxelles will handle the running of the shop and welcome all visitors with a free cup of tea or coffee.
“Les Gazelles is not only there to encourage sports; we also show the city of Brussels to newcomers and thus have an entry point to make young people aware of local customs, and let them find a home together,” said Nejib Murad, team coach at Les Gazelles.
“Of course, in order to achieve this, the basic needs must first be met.”
More information, including how to donate, can be found at the official website.