Manchester United’s young striker, Marcus Rashford is leading the way on and off the pitch; a reading club the latest of his charitable initiatives.
Marcus Rashford is doing things that most 23-year-olds could only dream of. Already a prolific goal scorer for Manchester United, part of the future of the England National Team, and also a campaigner for social change across the country, Rashford has had quite an impact both on and off the pitch since his professional debut in 2016. His latest venture, Rashford’s reading club, follows a year of heavily publicised charity work.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the British government announced the controversial decision not to offer food vouchers to children on free school meals during the summer holidays. With many families facing financial hardship due to the pandemic, Rashford started a campaign to aid those who were struggling to feed their children.
The 23-year-old gained mass support, and his initiative raised over £20 million for charity. Furthermore, the venture forced the government into a U-turn on the voucher issue. Thus, free school meal vouchers continued throughout the summer holidays.
Further pressure from Rashford’s campaign also led the government to provide an extra £400 million in funding to impoverished families to help with food and household bills over the end of 2020 and much of 2021.
But Marcus Rashford didn’t stop there. Determined to end child poverty for good, he launched a campaign aimed at getting children reading.
Throughout his childhood, Marcus Rashford had to rely on food banks and charitable support. He has publicly spoken of this being a sadly ‘normal’ part of his life, which now motivates him to help others in similar situations.
In November 2020, Rashford partnered up with MacMillan Publishing to launch a book club. The initiative is aimed at underprivileged children who may not necessarily be able to afford books. Again, it was Rashford’s own childhood that inspired his force for change. Rashford himself didn’t learn to read until the age of 17.
‘I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality’
Rashford’s reading club will give ‘young writers, illustrators, and creatives a chance to shine’. Furthermore, the initiative aims to get books into the hands of children in less fortunate circumstances.
Children of Rashford’s reading club won’t only be able to read existing literature, however. Rashford is co-authoring a story with The Athletic’s Carl Anka, and Katie Warriner, a performance psychologist. The story is titled ‘You are a Champion: Unlock your potential, find your voice and be the best you can be’. It’s scheduled for publishing by MacMillan in May 2021.
Each chapter will begin with a story from Rashford’s own childhood. The pages that follow will consist of motivational, self-empowering material. Further publications, also to be available for members of Rashford’s reading club, will follow in 2022.
Rashford’s reading club promotes a love of reading that Jack Bies, owner of JAX Branding, shares.
A self-proclaimed bookworm, Jack is fully aware of the benefits that reading brings. He’s a huge fan of the work that Rashford is doing to promote reading at a time when child reading levels are worryingly low. A 2019 survey showed that only 25.8% of children read daily – a shocking statistic.
Rashford’s reading club is a welcome positive in the current climate. It further reinforces the 23-year-old’s image not only as a mature head on young shoulders, but as a man with a strong moral compass.