Derby County striker Nick Blackman has donated hundreds of football shirts to the Pinelands Youth Soccer Academy in Barbados, as part of his #NicksKitCollection initiative.
Over 400 shirts were donated from all over the world, including those of Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, Chelsea’s Nathaniel Chalobah and Derby’s Richard Keogh.
Blackman said: “It was an incredible feeling to give the guys at Pinelands Youth Soccer Academy the shirts from #NicksKitCollection.
“They are based in an area of Barbados that really needs support and where football has played a big part in bringing young people together.”
The academy is in one of the poorest communities in Barbados, where football has a key role in addressing violence between rival gangs.
Blackman has family in Barbados, and has been involved in charity work on the island for a number of years.
“People outside the island often think of Barbados purely as a holiday destination, but the reality is quite different,” said Blackman. “Communities here need help – and as someone with roots on the island I am proud to do my bit.”
Nicole Smith, from the Pinelands Youth Academy, said: “We are delighted to receive the shirts from #NicksKitCollection and would like to thank Nick and all the football fans that kindly donated.”
“Our community will benefit hugely from the donation. Many of the young people we work with come from families that really need support.”
As well as personally donating the shirts in Barbados, Blackman also joined forces with Punjabi Rams, a Derby supporters club, to distribute shirts in India.
Blackman and the Punjabi Rams worked with Slum Soccer, an Indian NGO that was awarded FIFA’s Diversity Award last year, to give away the shirts and help young children in the country.
Blackman, 27, made 12 appearances for Derby last season, scoring one goal.