YORK City have announced plans to change their kit mid-season – but the new shirt will not cost supporters who bought the old strip a penny.

The decision to change shirt has been necessitated due to a shift in shirt sponsors Benenden Health’s trading style, which incorporates a new logo for the York-based health and wellbeing organisation.

A unique “Shirt Swap” initiative means, however, that fans can exchange their old tops for the rebranded version without incurring any expense – either for themselves or the club.

Anybody who takes part in the scheme will also be helping deprived children in Africa and the North of England, who will receive the returned shirts as part of club patron The Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust.

At the new kit’s launch today, City chairman Jason McGill said: “We believe a mid-season shirt swap of this nature is unprecedented in football and we are very excited about the Benenden Health initiative.

“We are delighted that the old shirts will be donated to the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust and will benefit individuals and sports teams in this country and beyond. We hope our fans will engage in this exciting, worthwhile initiative.”

Supporters can swap their shirts at the club shop between Monday, January 28 and Thursday, February 28. The shop opening hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10.30am to 4pm, Thursday 11.30am to 5.30pm, and Saturday matchdays 1pm to 3pm.

Any names and numbers printed on the back of existing shirts will also be reprinted free of charge and anybody who bought the top via the club’s official website mail order service will be able to make the swap without incurring any postage costs.

Explaining their logo change and shirt swap idea, Paul Keenan, head of communications for Benenden Health, formerly known as Benenden Healthcare Society, said: “Our move to the new brand of Benenden Health follows an important vote at our annual conference last June, where members decided to open up membership so that anyone aged 16, and who is normally resident in the UK, can now join our mutual community – therefore benefiting from the affordable, quality healthcare services we provide.

“We were mindful when planning the new brand that fans have already paid out for their replica shirts. As a caring mutual organisation, it was important to us that the changes didn’t affect the York City fans, which is why we’ve decided to replace all shirts free of charge and at no cost to the club.

“We also wanted to ensure that the old shirts went to benefit good causes so we’re delighted to be working with the Archbishop to make this happen.”

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, became the first person to swap his old shirt yesterday and added: “York City have consistently worked with projects supporting young people in the North of England through the Archbishop of York Trust and also overseas to ensure that those living in difficult situations can be given the hope of a brighter future. It is wonderful that Benenden Health are continuing that principle.”