Communities

Rashford: Holiday Camps will be a massive help

17 Dec 2020
Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

Man Utd star explains why he supports new PL Kicks activity for clubs to help 4,500 youngsters before Christmas

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Manchester United's star forward Marcus Rashford is backing the Premier League Kicks Holiday Camps that have just been announced because the objectives chime with his beliefs

"For me, the main reason I wanted to be involved in it is because it has a purpose that I believe in," Rashford says. "Giving young people the opportunity for safe activities and good meals, is something that I definitely believe in.

"It was definitely important for me to try and get on board and do what I can to help as well."

Rashford is an ambassador for the programme, where the Premier League is partnering with Barclays to support young people in the run-up to Christmas by funding the camps, which cater for eight to 18-year-olds.

The PL Kicks Holiday Camps will take place between 21-23 December and will feature 75 professional football club community organisations supporting up to 4,500 young people who need it most, with access to sport and positive activities, as well as nutritious meals.

They build upon the year-round delivery of Premier League Kicks the clubs have been delivering to their local communities.

Rashford says the camps giving young people the opportunity to access support during the schools holidays is hugely important to him.  

"People think the holidays is a time where it’s always easy for children and for families but sometimes it’s not," he says. "So these programmes being available to them can be a massive help for the children and the parents as well. It’s of huge importance and it’s important to keep that going."

Rashford himself attended MU Foundation's Premier League Kicks programme "Street Reds" at a similar age to some of the camps' participants later this month so is aware of the importance of how clubs can give positive activities to local youngsters. 

"It helps everyone with having those activities available in less fortunate communities," he says. "I've known a lot of talented players who have been involved in these types of programmes like Kicks.

"So, you know, you end up with a few more talented players than you would have expected and, for the children, it’s a safe environment where they can go and enjoy themselves and do what they want to do, which is play football and enjoy themselves with their friends.

"For me, it's a brilliant programme and long may it continue."

Clubs standing together

The camps are the latest initiative in the wide-ranging force for good that the clubs have been performing to meet the needs of their local communities, something that fills Rashford with pride.  

"I've always known that football clubs are in the heart of the community," he says.

"What I've probably been most proud of is that clubs and supporters have been able to put deep rivalry aside to stand together to protect our most vulnerable children.

"That was powerful. Football is the most common language we all speak and if we are all speaking the same language that’s a powerful force for good."

MU Foundation deliver food
Rashford is proud of how clubs such as Man Utd have helped their communities during the pandemic, such as delivering food parcels to those in need

Rashford's work off the pitch this season tackling food poverty has already captured the headlines this year and earned him an MBE. The 23-year-old is also looking to improve literacy among kids and will soon launch a children's motivational book, You Are A Champion, to help that campaign. These are part of the life skills he feels can empower young people for the future.

"The key message here is that every child in the UK should be equipped with the tools they need to succeed at anything they put their mind to," he says.

"No child should be starting 20 yards behind any other child. We must start breaking the cycle of hardship.

Financial literacy

"Food stability is the foundation of everything but we can also support food education and confidence in the kitchen, financial literacy, and literacy. Reading is a really important escapism to encourage within vulnerable environments." 

One of those life skills is how to manage money and, as part of the League's partnership with Barclays, the Holiday Camps will feature Barclays Life Skills workshops on financial literacy.

"Without vital skills to navigate adult life, we are going to continue cycles of hardship," Rashford says. "Money management is a key tool that should be taught from early stages, we should also be promoting education within food and nutrition, building confidence within kitchens, making it creative and fun."

While Rashford takes pride in how football clubs have stepped up to help in their communities, the eagerness of youngsters to play their part has been 'really special'.

'Incredibly proud'

"This October I was incredibly proud to call my profession football, seeing clubs pull together, opening kitchens to support our most vulnerable," he says.

"Football clubs are a huge part of people's lives and we can't ever forget that. For some, football is all they have. 

"It's been really special to see children, particularly, step up and want to play their role. You can see the joy and sense of achievement in their faces.

"That's what it's about, nurturing a new generation to be more compassionate, to pick each other up when they fall."

See: PL Kicks Holiday Camps to support young at Christmas

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