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Manchester United players celebrate Volunteers Week with Foundation participants

The Foundation is celebrating National Volunteers Week and recently invited deserving young people to the Aon Training Complex to meet members of the first-team squad.

| by Ashleigh Davison
Participants from the Foundation’s Volunteer Ninety Nine programme took part in coaching sessions with Manchester United players, in recognition of their commitment to the course over the 2017/18 season.

The volunteers had a brilliant opportunity to showcase their skills and development to the first team and enjoyed discussing their volunteering and future ambitions with some of their football heroes, including Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly.

Reds defender Valencia joined in with the session and related to the volunteers’ experiences: “I used to help and volunteer at my mum’s nursery every afternoon when I was younger; it was a wonderful experience,” he said. “Volunteering is important and we are very grateful for the work Manchester United Foundation volunteers are providing around the city. We are happy that the volunteers were able to come here today and share their work. All we can hope is that there are more people like them.”

Volunteer Ninety Nine is designed to provide training, recognised qualifications and work experience to 16-21 year-olds who are interested in pursuing a career in sport.  Participants are encouraged to achieve milestones of 33, 66 and 99 hours of volunteering, which represent the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League trophies, emulating the success of the Treble winning team.  

With a set of personal objectives, volunteers are encouraged to build up their hours at various projects such as Street Reds, the Foundation's flagship community football programme.

Jordan has been volunteering with Manchester United Foundation since October 2017 and spoke of his experiences with the programme and how it has helped with his development: “V99 has helped me personally and professionally; it has been a stepping stone into the sporting industry, specifically coaching,” he said. “It has also developed my confidence in coaching because as well as having the badges you need the experience, which is probably the most important thing.”

Jordan and his fellow participants volunteer each week at Street Reds sessions, which run Monday to Friday across Greater Manchester, and coaches lead free workshops and football training sessions to local children. 

Fellow volunteer Remarl said, “Volunteer Ninety Nine helps you become a better person; it lets you bring what you have learned to the younger generation.”

Project co-ordinator Seth Wyatt organised the day’s activities and was happy that the volunteers were able to put the skills they have learned to practice with professional players. Seth said, “Today has been fantastic for the volunteers to come down to the training ground, speak to the players and ask for advice; I’m sure it’s a day they won’t forget.”

Volunteers Week is celebrated between 1st and 7th June every year to recognise volunteers and the contribution they make to communities. The week also raises awareness about the benefits becoming a volunteer and the diverse volunteering roles that are available.