Street Reds takes place twice weekly at the Active Lifestyles Centre on Denmark Road and the participants and coaches identified the need to ‘spray’ some life into the tired facilities.
“The whole point of the graffiti project was to brighten the place up and make it more than just a pitch,” explained 16-year-old participant Jamal. “We thought if the place looked a bit better it could motivate us and we used people like Rooney so that you look at it and think maybe one day, hopefully, you could play in a World Cup.”
Jamal continued, “On the first day we all put our ideas together and picked out the three best ones, which were the four players and the flags of the World Cup teams.
“The project made people communicate more and make new friends and a lot of people turned up to help out, there was about 30-40 kids all working together.”
Street Reds operates at nine locations across Greater Manchester and aims to engage young people through football and alternative activities, such as the graffiti session, at times when they may otherwise become involved in anti-social behaviour.
Darren Clarke, head coach at Hulme, said, “The project gives our participants the opportunity to not only play football but be mentored, set targets, integrate with other members of the community and grow as individuals.”
Jamal added, “I’ve been coming to these sessions since I was nine and it means a lot to have somewhere to come. I don’t know what I’d be doing in my spare time otherwise; I’d probably still play football but this is organised, it feels like it’s got a meaning to it.
“I could just go and have a kick about on the park but I would be getting anything out of it. Here we actually do training sessions and get offered opportunities to play at other projects and against other clubs. It’s helped me develop as a player and as a person.”
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