A charity that supports disabled young people will feature on the front of Severn Stars’ new kit, in a first for UK netball as part of a new fundraising and awareness raising partnership.

Gloucestershire-based inclusion charity Active Impact will have its name and logo displayed on the Seniors’ kit, as the Stars’ headline sponsor for the 2021 season. This is a unique move as they replace Cheltenham College who elected to donate the opportunity to the charity.

The players unveiled the new look this week, at a training session at the University of Gloucestershire Arena, in the lead up to the 2021 season.

Nia Jones and Paige Reed have been appointed Active Impact Ambassadors and will be leading fundraising efforts throughout the season, as well as meeting and working with some of the children and young people that Active Impact supports across Gloucestershire.

Nia Jones, Vice-Captain of Severn Stars, said: “It is fantastic to be putting a new Stars kit on and getting ready for the new season, but this kit feels even more amazing as the whole team are going to be raising awareness and funds for such a worthy cause.”

It is the first time a Vitality Netball Superleague team has supported a charity in this way.

Caroline Eardley of Active Impact said: “Like all small charities, the last year has been difficult for us but we are thrilled to be working alongside Severn Stars, with the support of Cheltenham College, to not only raise awareness of what we offer in Gloucestershire but also to extend our services and increase the number of inclusive opportunities available for disabled people to enjoy, where they can challenge themselves and reach for the stars.”

Mick Donovan, Co-Director of Severn Stars and Head of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Worcester, said: “The restrictions brought about by the pandemic have proved a tough test for many charities.  Therefore, we are thrilled that every time the team steps on to court it will be raising awareness of the fantastic work of Active Impact, which is making such a difference to people’s lives.  We are also very keen to back this up with fundraising efforts throughout the season.”

Severn Stars is owned jointly by the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire. The franchise will be raising awareness of Active Impact and its work during the 2021 season and along with Cheltenham College will be fundraising for the charity throughout the year.

Player, Paige Reed added: “We have all heard how much small charities have struggled with fundraising in recent months. We are not only looking forward to helping Active Impact raise money but are also really excited about meeting some of the young people they support and getting to know them.”

Cheltenham College, a local independent school, sponsored Severn Stars in its 2019/2020 campaign, but is now the principal sponsor for the coming season and this year, as part of its charitable work, pupils and staff at the school elected to donate the school’s space on the front of Severn Stars’ kit to Active Impact.

Nicola Huggett, Head at Cheltenham College’, said: “Each year our staff, pupils, parents and friends come together to support local charities through fundraising and volunteering. We recognised that this year has been particularly challenging for these organisations and began discussing unique ways in which we could support them. Our relationship with Severn Stars provided the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of Active Impact and we are incredibly grateful to everyone for working hard to make this happen. Our work together has already sparked many positive conversations about inclusion, and we hope it generates many more over the rest of the season.”

In an early boost to fundraising efforts Severn Stars’ Kit supplier Kukri has donated £100 to a charity of the Stars’ choice.