Sir Bobby Charlton applauds the donation of footballs to young people
Sir Bobby Charlton is a strong believer that ‘the football is the greatest gift you could ever give or receive’, so he was delighted to support the Foundation’s latest community initiative, to give away 650 footballs to young people across Greater Manchester.
The footballs are part of wellbeing packs donated to participants of the Foundation’s Street Reds programme, to keep them active over the summer holidays and help them to re-engage with the friends and coaches they have been unable to see due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The packs include Manchester United memorabilia, health and wellbeing information, and an activity calendar to keep participants busy with a new challenge every day throughout August. Street Reds staff distributed the packs to eight sites throughout the week for participants to collect, which was the perfect opportunity for them to reconnect with their peers and coaching staff.
Sir Bobby Charlton, who has also been a great supporter of Manchester United Foundation, said: “I’ve always followed the work of the Foundation closely and I'm so proud of the work they have done since the start of pandemic. The team has gone above and beyond to ensure the young people they work with are not forgotten and feel supported, despite sessions not running as normal.
“The Street Reds football giveaway is particularly close to my heart. Over the years I have said on many occasions that a football is the best toy ever invented, and it truly is. A football brings with it hours and hours of pleasure and I know the impact this gesture will have on the community.”
Street Reds participant Jobe, 17, said: “It’s a very good gesture; I like the way they have presented the packs to us and showing us that they care. It’s going to keep me really busy through the summer; I really appreciate it.”
Amera, 16, added: “I’ve been coming to Street Reds for five years and I’ve missed the socialising aspect of it, so today has been good to see some of the coaches and have a little chat with them; it’s a bit of normality back. My days are pretty repetitive at the moment so this will bring something else into it; I’ve got something to look forward to everyday and keep me occupied until sessions restart.”
Despite not being able to deliver Street Reds sessions as normal, Foundation staff have been providing an online programme for participants to help them keep active throughout lockdown.
Hannah Mitchell, female development officer for Street Reds, said: “I think this will be a big deal for the kids to receive something like this from us; some of them don’t have their own footballs and although we’ve been doing online sessions, it’s the football that they crave. There’s also a nice letter in the packs to explain that we are missing them just as much as they are probably missing us. Just like them, we can’t wait to get back to the Street Reds sessions that we all love.”
Street Reds usually runs for 48 weeks of the years and offers free football and alternative activities for young people aged 8-19 across Greater Manchester. The programme offers the opportunity to learn new skills and gain qualifications in a supportive and positive environment. We hope for sessions to return in the new season and all information will be posted on our website.
The Street Reds giveaways add to the ongoing response of Manchester United Foundation to the local community during Covid-19, including donations of funds and supplies to partner schools, working with the club to donate meals to the NHS, and support for food banks.