The Foundation run by Wayne Rooney was established after the former England and Manchester United captain played his testimonial match in 2016. The Foundation thus works to support four charities, including the Premier League club Manchester United’s Foundation.
As part of this charitable partnership, Rooney’s charity has allowed Manchester United Foundation to inaugurate the ‘Rooney’s Inclusive Reds’ programme. This is a 10-week school course taught across local schools which aims to bring in both disabled and non-disabled kids to play and learn together at a level playing field. The idea of this programme is to inculcate values of appreciation and respect among children. Also, make them understand the importance of supporting people irrespective of their physical disabilities.
This programme was originally scheduled to be launched last year but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With ‘Inclusive Reds’, United is officially putting the programme into force by providing its training ground in Carrington to host the two-day event with Euros-themed activations. Various schools spread across the Greater Manchester Area took part in different football-related challenges to mark their participation in the programme.
Wayne Rooney expressed his delight on the launch of his Foundation’s programme and said, “I am delighted that my charity has partnered with Manchester United Foundation and we are able to support an inclusion programme specifically for young people, helping to break down barriers between those with and without disabilities. It is a programme I look forward to seeing in action and am sure it will have a positive impact on all involved.”
Wayne Rooney was always known as a longstanding supporter of these kinds of initiatives during his playing time at Manchester United and voiced his opinion on doing charities that could help break stereotypes and barriers between people with and without disabilities.
Matt Pilkington, disability and inclusion coordinator for Manchester United Foundation, added, “The programme has been brilliant for young people across Greater Manchester; it has given participants the opportunity to play at a level which is best suited to them and allowed them to feel comfortable within that environment. The impact of the programme has already been amazing with participants wanting to continue playing football outside of the school setting.”
Overall, this is a tremendous initiative from Wayne Rooney and his charity organisation. It further enforces that football is more than just a game. And to become a successful footballer, one should always first strive to become a successful human being. Prioritizing these core human values in children through football is what makes it such a beautiful game.