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Manchester United Foundation celebrate National Volunteers Week

A team of fifty Manchester United Foundation volunteers hosted a Sports Festival at Old Trafford today to celebrate National Volunteers Week. The event which was planned, organised and run solely by Foundation volunteers saw Manchester United staff, school children and local footballers take advantage of a sporting playground in the shadow of the iconic East Stand.

| by Thomas Jones

Manchester United Foundation celebrate National Volunteers Week

During the festival lucky guests tested their skills in a number of sporting activities including a penalty challenge, basketball shooting range, table tennis skill shot and volleyball matches which took place on an inflatable court.

The event also saw participants from local Street Reds projects, the Foundation’s flagship community football project, come together to play in a 3 vs 3 street football tournament. The atmosphere was also ramped up as the three minute matches were accompanied by music from Unity Radio host, DJ Stylus.

Volunteers involved were part of the Foundation’s Volunteer Ninety Nine project which is aimed at 16-25 year-olds who are interested in pursuing a career in sport. The project is designed to provide training, nationally recognised qualifications and work experience, never to be forgotten.

17-year-old volunteer Jamie, who is part of the project, encouraged young fans to get involved in volunteering and explained its longer term benefits “I eventually want a career in international development and I decided to start volunteering with the Foundation. United is not just about football, and the Foundation always tries to help you reach whatever your goal is and tailor the support you need to achieve.  If you work hard and give 100% to volunteering then you’ll reap the rewards.”

Martin Ingham, Foundation Volunteering Coordinator, explained the purpose of the event and how the Foundation has developed its own flagship volunteering programme. He said “Today is about celebrating the volunteers who work on our projects across the whole Foundation and they’ve come to Old Trafford to run some activities for the staff and local young people.”

He added “We’re just about to finish our second year and from the first cohort we’ve had a really high number gain employment within the Foundation and with other local employers. We’ve also been able to send a group of volunteers to coach in America with an overseas partner which is a fantastic experience and opportunity for our young people to have.”

17 year old Whalley Range Street Reds participant, Kieran, who took part in the Street Football tournament, was excited to have played outside of the Theatre of Dreams. He enthused “It’s good to come to Old Trafford and play some 3-a-side games as it’s not something you do every day. Me and my mates always want to play football so it’s a chance to have some fun.”