UCL News


Kit4Troops to help public make gifts to troops

5 August 2010

Press Release Link:

Steve McGregor on patrol in Iraq kit4troops.org.uk/KIT4Troops/About_Us.html" target="_self">Kit4Troops

Members of the public wishing to make gifts to serving British troops will now be able to donate items specifically requested by soldiers, thanks to Kit4Troops, a unique website created by two UCL students.

Kit4Troops.org.uk will go live at 5pm on Thursday 5 August and will be demonstrated and launched later that evening at UCL. Members of the media are welcome to attend.

Kit4Troops was created by Masters students Steve McGregor and Inaam Tahir, who met at UCL in 2009. In 2007, Steve was a Captain in the US 101st Airborne and deployed in Iraq, and it was this experience that led him to realise the need for a 'wedding list' style concept to get soldiers the items they most missed, or the additional kit they needed.

"When I was in Iraq we received so much mail. For us it was the number one way people could express their support. Family, friends and complete strangers sent us all kinds of stuff. Great as it was to get gifts, it was even better if you received gifts that meant a lot to you, like your favourite candy bar, or even a bit of kit that you really needed. Though the army had issued us kit that was good enough, we spent hundreds of dollars on gear that was even better.  During our daily patrols, my men and I wore-out countless pairs of socks, gloves, protective eye wear, boots, and more.  Much of this kit is costly to buy, especially on a soldier's salary.

"When I left the military I kept in touch with the men in my platoon, who are now deploying to Afghanistan.  I wanted to help but found myself experiencing the same problems I imagined my parents going through while I was in Iraq.  What gear did they need? What size? How many? How much? I also moved to London where I realised the British public is dealing with similar problems too.  Though it's a time honoured tradition in the military to 'tough it out', there must be a better way of getting our soldiers the support they need."

Steve and Inaam discussed how they could come up with a solution, and developed Kit4Troops, a website concept where soldiers can create a personal profile, review types of equipment, and save a 'wishlist' of items they need similar to the wedding list concept used by couples about to marry.

Kit4troops also plans on establishing a special relationship with suppliers to provide troops with the best kit available. The website provides instant feedback on your purchase and allows soldiers to easily communicate with those in their support network.

The first 'wishlists' will be posted on the site at the launch on Thursday. Kit4Troops is looking to partner with regiments deploying in the next rotation, in October. 

More information about this charity is available at their website and beginning on Thursday members of the public can easily purchase and send items to British troops by visiting the website and clicking the 'supporters' tab.

Tim Barnes, Director of UCL Advances, runs the London Entrepreneurs' Challenge - one of the biggest and longest running student business plan competitions in the UK - where the duo first met, and says:

"It is great to see entrepreneurial spirit and passion being committed to a social enterprise, such as Kit4Troops. Launching a business is a tough thing for anyone, but Steve and Inaam have had to work particularly hard given their studies and the current economic climate. We are sure they will see Kit4Troops make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of services personnel that are thousands of miles from their friends and families."

Image: Steve McGregor on patrol in Iraq

Notes for Editors

1. Kit4Troops (www.kit4troops.org.uk) will be formally launched on Thursday 5 August, Roberts Engineering Building, UCL, Malet Place, London WC1, on Thursday, 5th of August, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. To register your attendance please visit http://www.kit4troops.org.uk/

2. For interviews with either Steve McGregor or Inaam Tahir, contact Dominique Fourniol in the UCL Media Relations office, 07881 833 274 or d.fourniol@ucl.ac.uk.

3. Steve McGregor is studying for an MSc in Social Anthropology and Inaam Tahir is studying for an MSc in Linguistics and Translation.

4. Kit4Troops is on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ttr9X751nRE.

Media contact: Dominique Fourniol