The visit saw Mata take part in a Move With Manchester United PE lesson, a programme delivered by Manchester United Foundation coaches that is aimed at increasing children’s physical literacy, before handing out gifts to the 4-6 year-old pupils.
The Reds star has kindly donated 500 toys, which the Foundation will distribute to 49 primary schools it works with across Greater Manchester. Mata explained, “I have a good friend who owns a toy brand and we thought it would be nice to work together for the kids here in Manchester and in my hometown of Oviedo, to give these gifts to school children, but also for kids who are in hospital and kids who may not have had gifts from their parents this Christmas.”
He added, “It’s been a very nice experience for me to come here today; the kids seem really happy with the gifts and I want to try and do this as much as I can, not only me but the other players as it can be easy for us to do something like this.”
Tracey Palmer, deputy head teacher at Button Lane Primary, was pleased with the outcome of the day and said, “In assembly I explained someone famous was coming into school and the children have been intrigued all day.
“The fact that Juan has given up his own time to come along is wonderful. He’s a great inspiration and this visit will be life changing for some of these children as they never get to meet anybody famous and probably never will again.”
Manchester United Foundation works in partnership with primary and secondary schools across Greater Manchester to deliver coaching and educational programmes, such as Move With, to enable young people to develop essential life skills.
Manchester United Foundation coach, Jessica Finch, who was leading the session at Button Lane, explained the importance of the activity: “Today, with the help of Juan, we’re assessing the ability of the children for jumping, kicking, skipping. Some children at this age don’t always have the basics of balance, agility and coordination so we are working with primary schools so that young children can develop these skills and can carry them through into sports and activities in the future.”