Throughout the summer break, participants from the Foundation’s partner schools and community projects enjoyed the opportunity to meet with their friends for some football fun at one of 22 holiday camps across Greater Manchester.
One of those sessions received a very special visit from three Academy scholars when Sam Murray, Marcus Lawrence and Tom Wooster took the short trip to Dean Trust Ardwick. There, the trio took part in inclusive activities with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) students transitioning from primary school to high school.
Reds who follow the club’s famed youth set-up will be familiar with the players, particularly left-back Sam Murray, who played a starring role in last season’s victorious FA Youth Cup final. It is clear that Sam, and indeed all of the players, have already developed a keen understanding about Manchester United’s connection with the young people of Greater Manchester, facilitated by the Foundation.
“It’s really important to me that we support this kind of thing,” Sam explained. “Representing Manchester United is about much more than training Monday to Friday and then playing a game at the weekend, it’s about getting out and engaging in the community like this.”
“I’ve loved being here today,” goalkeeper Tom added. “Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces when they score a goal or make a great save took me back to when I was younger, enjoying small games with my mates and having fun – that’s what’s all about.
“United has such a big part to play in the community, and even though we’re only 17, we can help with that too. The kids seemed to have so much fun today and hopefully this is a day that they’ll remember for a long time to come.”
Players from the Academy have previously visited Foundation schools to talk to students about the importance of looking after their mental health, and their continued support was appreciated by participants and coaches alike, as the lads threw themselves into football drills and small-sided games with real enthusiasm.
Eddie Griffiths, school partnership officer for Manchester United Foundation, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to have the players down here today; the kids have been looking forward to it all week!
“The fundamental purpose of football, and what we do, is to bring joy to these kids, so having Sam, Tom and Marcus makes days like today extra special and they were so invested and engaged – credit to them.
“It’s been a busy summer for us at the Foundation with the all the holiday provision we’ve been putting on, which included football sessions and workshops in a safe space, along with some food for them to enjoy, too.
“It’s vital that we work with our schools in these difficult times to ensure that the kids are looked after, even during the summer break.”
Judging by participants De’janae’s words, it’s clear the holiday camps were a roaring success!
“We’ve been doing all sorts of games and it was very exciting to have the players here,” she said. “I think this is a really fun thing to do during the summer and I’ve been coming all week. It’s so great to have people here from Manchester United!”