Whitehaven player Jessie Joe Parker has launched an initiative to help people play rugby league in his native Papua New Guinea.
While PNG is rugby-mad, locals often struggle to find decent kit to play in. Parker is appealing for rugby league fans to help him send kit back to PNG.
The scheme is being run under the guidane of Whitehaven directors Steve Nicholson and Paul Nelson.
“Last season we raised funds to get a Whitehaven kit for the team Jessie coaches in Port Moresby, the Liagam Brothers, who now play under the name of Whitehaven Liagam Brothers in their competition, in appreciation to the club,” explained Nicholson, according to Cumbrian paper the News & Star.
“We know via Jessie and others in the RL world that even though PNG is mad keen on Rugby League, the people who play it are very poor and struggle to get playing strips.”
Parker himself well knows what a struggle it is to find proper kit in PNG, with any donations sure to be gratefully received in the Pacific nation.
“The kids in my home village Ialibu, in the southern highlands, have nothing other than the clothes on their backs and would be over the moon to get replica shirts as they just love rugby league,” said Parker.
“The teams in and around Ialibu and the team I coach in Port Moresby play in makeshift kits and any full kits would be a great boost to the players and teams over in my homeland.”
The Jessie Joe Project hopes to send rugby kits and replica shirts out to Papua New Guinea, with the help of the people of west Cumbria.
Haven n are the driving forces behind the project, along with Parker and they are appealing to fans and local amateur clubs to help them out with kits.
The project is looking to fans and rugby league clubs to donate old playing kits and replica shirts. They welcome clothing for both adults and children.
The project also requires additional sponsorship to meet transport costs, with shipments costing around £200 per square metre.
“We will also be needing vacuum bags (XL) to put kit and shirts in and these are available through a wide range of suppliers,” added Nicholson.
People interested in donating should contact Whitehaven directly.