This week (23-27 November), the Premier League is celebrating the incredible impact of football clubs in their local communities as the Premier League Charitable Fund (PLCF) marks its 10-year anniversary.
Established a decade ago, the PLCF provides investment and long-term support to help clubs across the football pyramid to create lasting change within communities.
In those 10 years, 110 professional football clubs from the Premier League to the National League have been working in their communities to engage those that need the greatest support, provide positive pathways and support mental and physical wellbeing.
As part of the anniversary celebrations, the PLCF has recognised 10 individuals whose involvement with Manchester United Foundation, either as a participant or facilitator, has warranted special praise across five categories.
PL Primary Stars winners
Participant winner - Shia
As a pupil at a Foundation partner primary school, Shia always put 100% into his work and is a huge Manchester United fan!
The confidence he showed in talking about his experience with autistic spectrum disorder during a PLPS Disability Awareness course prompted us to select him as one of the stars of the #UnitedandMe campaign. Here, he was able to let his personality shine during visits to the stadium where he interviewed players and fronted a video in his own unique way (see right).
Facilitator winner – Jordanna
Jordanna has been part of the Primary Stars team at Manchester United Foundation since 2011, making a difference to thousands of children with her infectious enthusiasm and ability to make learning fun and engaging.
Even through lockdown she was an integral part of the team in creating online resources for young people, alongside ensuring day-to-day delivery continued as best she could.
PL Kicks winners
Participant winner – Mark
Mark encompasses all that the Foundation offers and has grabbed every opportunity available to him.
A former pupil at a partner school, Mark has progressed from being a participant at Street Reds – the Foundation’s community football programme derived from PL Kicks - to being a volunteer. Helping out whenever he can, Mark also studies on our BTEC Sport course run in partnership with Eccles Sixth Form College.
Facilitator winner – Darren
Darren has worked for Street Reds in Moss Side for 11 years. This particular session is the model structure used to demonstrate best practice, which stems from Darren’s focus on the development of young people, the importance he places on building a rapport with attendees and also the discipline and respect that is created through his leadership.
PL Inspires winners
Participant winner – Lucy
Lucy is another participant who epitomises the core values of the Foundation. A 2016 winner of the Premier League Enterprise Challenge, Lucy has since progressed through our volunteering programme and is now working towards a BTEC in Sport at our partner college in Eccles.
Through the Employability and Skills team, which leads PL Inspires, Lucy also undertook work experience with the Foundation communication team, presenting a film about matchday roles at Old Trafford.
Facilitator winner – Emma
A teacher at a Foundation partner school, Emma worked closely with pupils taking part in the PL Enterprise challenge to develop an idea that was not only implemented on a matchday, but went on to win the challenge at a national level. She also worked with Foundation behind-the-scenes to provide students with the best platform and opportunity to flourish.
“It is an absolute privilege to be recognised,” Emma said. “Whilst the award might have my name on it, I feel that it recognises every single person involved with our entry into the Premier League Enterprise challenge and all the good it achieved.”
PL PFA winners
Participant winner – Rhea
Rhea has been rewarded for the excellent progress she has made under the tutelage of her school partnership officer. She has now completed her GCSEs and is studying Sports Coaching at college whilst also continuing to volunteer at the Street Reds project linked to her school.
During her time at school, Rhea’s sister suffered with cancer. This prompted the inspiring teenager to raise £2,000 for Macmillan by shaving her head and donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust.
More recently, Rhea has applied to start her journey on the Volunteer 99 programme as her association and journey with the Foundation continues.
Facilitator winner – Lee
Now in his 10th year of service for the Foundation, Lee has been instrumental in the significant growth of student development, school facilities and regional reputation at Manchester Health Academy.
His dedication, determination and continuous hard work in partner primaries, Street Reds and whole-school activities have contributed enormously to this. Over the years, Lee has developed and supported the educational and personal development opportunities at the Foundation, whilst in many cases supporting students from primary school programmes all the way through the finishing sixth form.
“I strive to make sure that kids want to do better,” Lee said. “This motivates me every day whether I do this through leadership, mentoring and showing that the kids can trust us to help them do this.”
He added: “I’m really humbled by this award and I hope it shows the care and attention that I have put into my role.”
Transformational Journey winners
Participant winner – Charlotte
Involved in the Foundation since childhood, Charlotte progressed through one of our partner high schools before joining the Foundation’s volunteering programme and studying the BTEC Sport course at Eccles Sixth Form College.
Charlotte has been involved in nearly every element of the Foundation and credits her experiences and coaches for the journey she has taken. Now studying Physical Education at the University Campus of Football business, she hopes to become a PE Teacher.
Facilitator winner – Luke
Luke is inspirational, humble and epitomises the ethos of Manchester United Foundation.
His passion for Foundation projects originated at the sessions he attended as a child and through determination, education and support from the Foundation, he was able to excel in his career, returning as a school partnership officer and head coach at the project he was once a participant.
Everyone at Manchester United Foundation would like to send congratulations to our winners and all those at our fellow Premier League clubs. They will be celebrated across Foundation social media channels this week.