Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Manchester United Foundation has continued its commitment to the young people with whom it usually works on a daily basis in underprivileged areas of Greater Manchester.
The Foundation has produced activity packages, which include a watch, stationery, magazine, worksheets, and some sweet treats. Bonnier Books UK has also donated three titles from Bear Grylls’ publishing portfolio to complete the packs and provide children with some survival tips during this difficult time.
John Shiels, CEO of Manchester United Foundation, said: “These packs are an intrinsic element of the work we are doing right now to give back to our community and make a difference to the young people we work with. We are extremely thankful for the generous donation of books by Bear Grylls and the team at Bonnier. They are a wonderful addition to our packs and will be hugely appreciated by the children and families, offering a sense of escapism when it is most needed.”
Bear Grylls said: “I’m proud to know that my books will play a small part in helping keep young people in Manchester entertained and motivated during this difficult time. Reading is the ultimate way to gain power, skills and knowledge and to explore new worlds. Those things are now more important than ever.”
The first of the packages were delivered to partner primary schools of Manchester United Foundation, including St. Luke’s R.C. Primary School in Salford, at which a small number of children are still attending school during this time.
Julia, 10, said: “We were doing PE and suddenly everyone got really excited when we saw the bags arrive; it was really cool. I really like Bear Grylls, so it’s really exciting to get one of his books. I love reading, so that will keep me occupied through lockdown.”
Hannah Gaskell, primary school officer for Manchester United Foundation, said: “I work within the primary schools and some of the children probably will be struggling at this point as we see it first-hand everyday. So these packs might just cheer them up a little bit; even to have a book to read is great as some of them won’t even have that.”
Using funds raised from the Treble Reunion Legends Match in May 2019, the giveaway of 1,000 activity packs in collaboration with Bear Grylls and Bonnier is the first of several partnerships planned to provide ongoing support to young people and the local community. The wider initiative aims to supply activity packs and sports equipment to thousands of children across the region to the value of £50,000 in the coming weeks.
The activity pack giveaways add to the response of Manchester United and the Foundation to the local community, including the donation of funds to partner schools, support of the NHS through meal donations and deliveries of goods to food banks.