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Manchester United Foundation showcases the Social Impact of Sport to the DCMS Committee

Manchester United Foundation hosted an event for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), at which young people involved with the Foundation were invited to speak.

| by Katie Newton
Cross-party delegates from the DCMS select committee attended the event at Old Trafford, at which the agenda was to discuss the Impact and Social Value of Sport. They were also joined by Manchester United Foundation key stakeholders, including representatives from partner schools, councils, the police and community organisations, plus Foundation staff and participants.

Manchester United Foundation chief executive John Shiels welcomed the committee with an overview of the Foundation and its work with young people across Greater Manchester, before Damian Collins MP, chair of the DCMS, addressed the guests.  The event was concluded by members of the Foundation’s primary schools team discussing their experiences, with the three members involved having made the transition from participants to paid members of staff.

Zainab, 17, and Lily, 21, were both pupils at Manchester United Foundation partner schools and received life-changing opportunities through their experience. At the age of 15, Zainab became the club’s first ever female ball assistant through the Foundation initiative and is now a casual member of the primaries team whilst she completes her A Levels.  Lily’s potential as a football coach was recognised by her Foundation coaches whilst she was a pupil at Manchester Enterprise Academy. She received invaluable mentorship and her experiences culminated in a trip to the USA to coach young children. She has recently obtained a full-time role with the Foundation as an assistant primary schools officer and her ambition is to return to America in the future.

Kile, 27, was a participant at the Foundation’s first ever Street Reds evening football project over 10 years ago. After attending college and university, Kile returned to Street Reds as a casual coach and became a role model to young people with whom he could relate from his experiences. Kile has now progressed to a lead role within the primary schools team and relishes the opportunities he has received through the Foundation.

“I hope my future with the Foundation continues to be bright; I just want to continue the good work that we do on a day-to-day basis,” said Kile.  “Where I come from there is a lot of unemployment so I just want to make sure people are given opportunities and their talents are nurtured and pushed in the right direction, just like myself.”

Damian Collins MP commented, “We’re doing this inquiry because we believe that sport makes a massive positive impact on people’s lives.  I was particularly keen to come to Old Trafford because I think the United Foundation is a leader in this field and it’s great to meet some of the people who have benefitted from that work over the years.  The social impact of sport is the ability to change people’s lives and we’ve seen real examples of that here today.”

John Shiels, chief executive of Manchester United Foundation, concluded, “The committee values that we go out into communities and engage young people in their own territory and let them develop at their own pace and then they’ve got the confidence to grow and build further.  The guys on the panel tonight just encapsulated that, by giving an amazing, informative insight into the transformational difference the Foundation has made to their lives.”