The Premier League has announced it will be supporting more than 4,500 young people in the run-up to Christmas by funding Premier League Kicks Holiday Camps for eight to 18-year-olds.
The Holiday Camps will take place between Monday 21 – Wednesday 23 December and will see 75 professional football club community organisations support young people who need it most, with access to sport, positive activities and nutritious meals.
Marcus Rashford MBE will act as an ambassador for the activity, which will support young people following the break-up of schools for the holidays and the start of the Christmas period. Rashford is himself a former Premier League Kicks participant, having taken part in Manchester United’s Street Reds sessions.
Here is a Q&A with Marcus Rashford in which he discusses footballers supporting their local communities during the pandemic, the importance of learning financial literacy, and his work to end food poverty in the UK
Football clubs have been a force for good during the pandemic, supporting their communities in numerous ways. How proud are you of what yourself, other players and clubs have done to support those in need?
MR: Massively proud, but then again I’ve always known that football clubs are in the heart of the community. 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.
You have been 100% committed to the #endfoodpoverty work and are now writing your own book. What other life skills are you keen to support children and young people with?
MR: 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 too. No child should be starting 20 yards behind any other child. We must start breaking the cycle of hardship. 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.
Financial literacy through Barclays LifeSkills is one of the workshops young people will have access to during the Holiday Camps. Why do you think it is important that football clubs support young people to develop these important skills?
MR: Because without vital skills to navigate adult life, we are going to continue cycles of hardship. 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.
How important do you think the connection between football clubs and their communities is?
MR: It’s huge. This October I was incredibly proud to call my profession football, seeing clubs pull together, opening kitchens to support our most vulnerable. Football clubs are a huge part of people’s lives and we can’t ever forget that. For some, football is all they have.
Across the UK, young people are helping others through this crisis – how important is it to recognise and celebrate the role that young people can play in making a positive difference to others?
MR: 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.
Courtesy of Pitch