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Volunteer Ninety Nine participants organise tournament in support of Volunteers Week

Volunteers from projects across Greater Manchester organised a local seven-a-side tournament in celebration of National Volunteers Week.

| by Thomas Jones

Volunteer Ninety Nine participants organise Volunteers Week tournament

Teams selected from Street Reds projects in Hulme, Partington, Stretford, Salford, Whalley Range and Wythenshawe, went head-to-head in a closely fought encounter at Stretford Sports Village.

The competition gave ownership and responsibility to members of the Volunteer Ninety Nine programme, which has been designed by Manchester United Foundation to reward and encourage volunteers. A group of 10 volunteers worked together to select teams, referee matches, keep score, organise team photos and present prizes at the end of the tournament.

Nico Pemberton is one of the longest serving volunteers since joining Foundation activities in 2008. As well as being a regular member of the Old Trafford, Whalley Range and Hulme projects, he has become a mentor to other volunteers on the Volunteer Ninety Nine programme.

“The best bit about volunteering is helping kids smile, coming down to the projects and just helping out and getting kids playing football,” said Nico.  “If I didn’t have volunteering I’d probably just be sat at home loafing so it’s good to get out and get involved.”

The tournament final produced a local derby between rivals Stretford and Salford. The match ended in dramatic fashion with Stretford winning a tense penalty shootout.

Salford volunteer, Alex Kay, explained his involvement with the tournament process:

“Today I’ve had to officiate, give our results, and be in charge of our team. It’s all about motivation and giving the team my thoughts and opinions.”  He continued, “Volunteers work with a wide variety of age groups so there are plenty of different playing styles and levels of talent to motivate and encourage.”

Foundation community cohesion coach Martin Ingham was impressed by the running of the tournament.  He said, “Today was all about handing control over to the volunteers, this was a great opportunity to get them working together as a team. The tournament was a great success and the volunteers can be proud of the outcome thanks to the effort and hard work carried out.”

Find out more about Volunteer Ninety Nine.

Find out more about Street Reds.