Aimed at 16-25 year-olds who are interested in pursuing a career in sport, Volunteer Ninety Nine is designed to provide training, nationally recognised qualifications and work experience, never to be forgotten.
Every hour counts as the participants are encouraged to achieve milestones of 33, 66 and 99 hours of volunteering, to emulate the success of their Treble winning heroes.
Manchester United Foundation coaches will mentor the participants through the three levels, which represent the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League trophies as they build up to their own Treble win at 99 hours.
1999 Treble winner Irwin drew on his own experiences during the launch event, which took place in the Manchester United Museum, and give some sound advice to the young volunteers:
“1999 was the best year the club has ever had in terms of winning trophies, so I think it’s fantastic that this is being linked in this way,” he said. “You’ve got to put in a lot of hard work and perseverance; hard work is a given, in anything you do, but try and enjoy it as well.
“If you look back at the ‘99 season, particularly the first 4-5 months, there were a lot of downs, but that’s part of football and part of life; it’s how you react that makes you a better person and hopefully they’ll learn that on the way.”
25 volunteers have signed up to Volunteer Ninety Nine and will build up their hours at various projects such as Street Reds, the Foundation’s flagship community cohesion programme, and Premier League 4 Sport, a national initiative which aims to engage young people in new sports.
Peter Westwood, 18, who attends the Street Reds session in his home town of Stretford, commented, “I’m hoping to get more experience in coaching and get further qualifications. I was only four in 1999 but it’s amazing that I’m now working towards my own treble and seeing how far I’ve come from school, when I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. I didn’t expect to come this far and be in this position now; I’m most looking forward to developing as a person, going out of my comfort zone and changing what needs to be changed.”
Foundation community cohesion manager, Dawn Bracegirdle, who will oversee the programme, concluded, “Ninety Nine is a really innovative project and we are aiming to support our young people into developing their leadership skills and progressing into employment in a field they enjoy. We hope they will benefit from the one-to-one mentor support from our dedicated coaching staff and use this experience their future careers.”
Find out more about Street Reds.
View more images from the Volunteer Ninety Nine launch.