Manchester United’s Academy players have the led way in supplying festive gifts for local primary school children as part of Manchester United Foundation’s Christmas shoebox appeal.
The Foundation delivers community and education programmes in the areas of highest social deprivation across Greater Manchester, where its 28 partner primary schools are based.
As a result, players and staff from across the club have been asked to pitch in where they can to help provide a Christmas gift this year to pupils in need.
Right behind the appeal from the onset, youngsters from our Academy have enthusiastically supported the festive initiative with a personal touch – carefully picking items to include inside their own, self-wrapped shoeboxes, before placing them under the tree at Carrington.
“We know how tough it is living across the country, particularly in Manchester. If we can get our boys thinking about how they might contribute to their communities, then that’s a healthy part of their learning,” explained Director of Academy, Nick Cox.
“The players have an opportunity to make a difference to a wonderful initiative, and that is the driving force, but there’s also a learning experience for them to understand more about the community they represent every time they pull on the Manchester United shirt.”
The appeal – also supported by players in our men’s and women’s first-team squads – has given our Academy youngsters time to reflect on their individual circumstances and the importance of giving back.
Under-21 goalkeeper, Dermot Mee, said: “I’ve always had a really good relationship with my family and had a good time around Christmas. I feel for the kids who haven’t had the experiences that I’ve had, so I just want to give a bit back where I can.
“At Manchester United, we’re all a big family. If we can give a little bit back to the community, we know how far it will go. We know some of the work the Foundation does and how amazing it is for kids around Christmas time.”
The youngsters have also been out into the community, visiting Foundation partner school, Bredbury Green Primary School, to hand-deliver some of the shoeboxes to identified children who will benefit most from their kind contributions.
Under-18 midfielder Jacob Devaney said: "It was great to see the expressions on the kids’ faces, how happy they were to see the shoeboxes that they’ve received.
"Putting the boxes together is one thing, then the feeling you get of seeing the kids get the boxes, it tops it off really, especially at a time like this, Christmas, a time for having fun and a good time. I’ve always been privileged to have a great time at Christmas, seeing my family and friends, so to pass it on to others is unbelievable."