Empowering the next generation of females is a core part of Manchester United Foundation’s delivery. From jointly running the Regional Talent Club, which has produced prodigious talents such as Ella Toone and Millie Turner, to affording opportunities and enrichment activities as part of the Girls’ Development programme: the aim is to inspire a generation.
With the Foundation now having established a base in Carlisle through its partnership with Richard Rose Central Academy, students converged on the Cumbrian town for the latest of these regular activations. The day gave the girls the chance to get creative, work as part of a team and get green-fingered with some nature activities.
Those in attendance came from five of the Foundation’s Greater Manchester partner schools and Central Academy in Carlisle. Jess Nelson, school partnership officer in Carlisle, spoke to us about the importance of the event for helping to creating a female legacy by empowering young girls to enact social change.
“We want the girls to take it upon themselves to start projects and initiatives in their local communities,” Jess said. “For us to showcase the variety of things the girls could do, we broke up the day into three elements: leadership, environmentalism and promoting change.
“The leadership activities challenged the girls to work together and understand how to communicate in teams and it was great to see them throw themselves enthusiastically into planting bulbs in the school’s green space, as well as making a bird feeder from a plastic bottle.
“We also incorporated elements of the Premier League Inspires programme by asking the girls to design colourful posters encouraging social change in their community, which they seemed to really enjoy.”
Over the past few years Manchester United Foundation has begun to spread its reach beyond the borders of Greater Manchester, with schools in Northern Ireland and, of course, Carlisle. This presents the further opportunity for pupils from our Manchester schools to experience a different city and meet new people from different backgrounds.
Claire Harrop, female education officer for the Foundation, said: “The event was a fantastic, collaborative effort and gave our Greater Manchester students the chance to travel outside of their ten-minute world. For many of them, a trip down the road to see their mates or visit the park is the furthest they will ever go.
“We wanted to expose them to experiences that differ from their daily routine, such as seeing a new place and meeting new people, whilst also equipping them with new skills, which they can take back and implement into their own community.
“Fundamentally we want to open their eyes to the world that is out there and what opportunities there are available.”
Helin, a student from Manchester Academy, enjoyed the day of activities:
“It was really cool to be so far away from school and to meet kids our age from a different area – they were really nice,” she said. “My favourite part of the day was the leadership activities as I found them really fun and learned a lot.
“I really hope we get to do more events like this as it’s given me ideas of how we can get involved with social action activities in our school and make a difference where I live.”