The students had been developing ideas for a social action campaign in school with the Foundation’s employability and skills team, and the project culminated in the visit to Old Trafford where the teams presented their campaigns to a special panel of judges, with the hope of being selected to represent Manchester United at the national PL Inspires finals in London.
The esteemed judging panel included Rishi Jain, equality and inclusion manager for Manchester United, Jane Dowson student attraction adviser at EY and three first-year scholars from the Manchester United U18s’ squad – captain Will Fish, goalkeeper Dermot Mee and midfielder Charlie Savage.
The Foundation partner schools competing in the challenge were Loreto High School in Chorlton, Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshawe and Dean Trust Ardwick, with Loreto emerging victorious for their idea to support local food banks by providing drop off points at Old Trafford on a matchday.
The students are already running a food bank project within their school and their winning idea was to roll this out into the wider community via drop off points and promotion around the stadium.
The panel agreed each team had put a lot of effort into their projects and Dermot Mee said: “All the students had great enthusiasm to get involved; they’ve done their research and gone into detail to try and help the local communities and support them in different ways.”
Will Fish added about the winning campaign: “They put a lot of effort into presenting to us today and it was the most realistic project that could actually happen in the future.
“There’s a lot of homelessness in Manchester, so it’s inspired us to think about it more and how we can help. Even if you bring a couple of tins in each week to the club it will make a massive difference to the community.”
The winning team included pupils Bahroz, Olivia, Dilshan, Paula and Aoife and the lasting impact of the programme, plus the skills they have gained, was clear to see.
Bahroz said: “It will helps us in a lot of ways, such as in business, confidence, communication and teamwork.”
Aoife added: “We’ve learned new skills like how to pitch an idea, but also friendship and social skills.”
The team is now looking forward to going to London to represent Manchester United at the national PL Inspires final with their project.
PL Inspires is an educational programme, which was introduced in 2019, developed by the Premier League and professional football clubs. The programme is aimed at young people aged 11-25. The programme allows students the opportunity to work with and compete against students from all areas.
The challenge this year was to create a social action project on the theme of ‘This is Everyone’s Game’. Pupils from local schools were tasked with creating an idea and showcasing them in a ‘club heat event’. Once a winner was selected the PL community fund will provide a small grant to support the group in bringing the project to life.