Millers star Georgie Kelly steps up fight against climate change

LITTER PICK: Georgie joins community clean-upLITTER PICK: Georgie joins community clean-up
LITTER PICK: Georgie joins community clean-up
ROTHERHAM United star Georgie Kelly says footballers can play a leading role in tackling climate change, as the club gears up for this week’s Green Football Weekend.

The Irish striker has recently been named Rotherham United Community Trust’s (RUCT) “Community Player of the Year” for 2023, after the dedication he showed in pushing the club and community to be more sustainable.

“To kids, footballers are your icons so we do have a real influence and it’s the same with adults actually,” Kelly said. “So we have a really good vehicle to raise awareness of whatever cause you want to push and for me it’s sustainability and climate change. When fans see players getting involved and changing habits then they tend to tag along as well.”

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Kelly, who has a Masters degree in Renewable Energy and Environmental Finance, recently joined RUCT’s environmental sub-group and has been a key figure in launched initiatives promoting the environment, physical health and helping with the cost of living crisis.

SWAP SHOP: Georgie with kits ready for exchangeSWAP SHOP: Georgie with kits ready for exchange
SWAP SHOP: Georgie with kits ready for exchange

“I’ve been involved in coming up with ideas for RUCT, who work on a tight budget, around what we could do to improve sustainability within the community,” the 27-year-old said. “The big one was the SwapShop, which was somewhere fans could donate old shirts, shorts and boots, and it was great with loads of kids coming there to get new boots and kit when they had grown out of their old ones.”

Kelly’s passion also helped motivate eight of his team mates to join a community litter pick alongside over 150 members of the public as part of the EFL Week of Action.

“The litter pick was an amazing initiative,” Kelly said. “We got five or six schools involved and the kids got a real kick out of it. I wish we’d weighed how much litter we picked up because it was absolutely loads. I hope it’s something the club can start doing every year from now on.

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“I feel like I do owe the club and community because of the way they’ve backed me since I joined the club, so giving my time to RUCT is a way of giving back to those fans.”

Green Football Weekend 2024 takes place from 2-5 February and this year encourages fans to try cooking vegetarian meals. If the UK’s football fans had one veggie meal a day, it could save the equivalent to removing 5.5 million cars from the road each year.

As part of the initiative, some of the RUCT team will be walking to work as part of their Get Walking plan to help save on emissions used when staff travel to work in cars everyday.

They will also visit local primary school St Bede’s, who have a Meat-Free meal every Wednesday, and will top off the week by hosting their final Swap Shop at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, which will be open to all to come and take items that they need.

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For Saturday’s home match against Southampton during Green Football Weekend itself RUCT will be encouraging fans to choose the vegan/vegetarian option at the ground. They will be joined by some of their brilliant external and internal partners who will share information with fans about healthy eating, fitness and positive mindsets.

The national campaign has included the launch of the Green Football Weekend Veggie Cookbook, which contains recipes from more than 70 football players, celebrity chefs, club nutritionists, managers and football-loving personalities.

By trying a recipe from the Cookbook, fans can register a goal for their club in the Green Football Cup at, where more than 80 of the top professional clubs are vying for the title.

Sarah Jacobs, Green Football Weekend director, said: “Green Football Weekend is fan action at its most powerful, and brings clubs together to take increasingly ambitious action on climate. Football has incredible power to inspire change and improve lives, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”