Manchester United’s forward (Marcus Rashford) is single-handedly changing the nation both on and off the pitch. From his exceptional skill on the pitch, to his immense charity work with FareShare and their free school meal campaign.  Britain has seen a new side to one of its most skilled players. 

Marcus’ attitude towards his sport is ambitious and cleverly calculated; attributes that he has also imbued within his charity work that has seen him cooperate with the likes of FareShare

System Failure

Marcus became an ambassador for the charity during the coronavirus pandemic. Which saw a spike in the number of families being unable to provide meals for their children at 15.6% within the first two weeks of lockdown. As well as a significant increase in mental illness and suicide rates.

This inability to provide was due to the lockdown which saw schools close, leaving children who would be eligible for free school meals to be dependent on their families to provide, which wasn’t always a reality for a lot of parents. 

Marcus’ understanding of this issue was all too familiar and reminded him of his own childhood. His mother, Melanie Maynard, was earning minimum wage while working a full-time job; and being unable to keep up with the demands of a system that failed families in need such as Marcus’. 

Relying on the systems that school’s offer, Marcus attended breakfast clubs, as well as utilising the free school meals that schools provide for families who were unable to meet income thresholds. Marcus admitted at times food banks were necessary for his family to eat while growing up in Wythenshawe.

Knowing the struggle first-hand, Marcus saw FareShare’s call for support and immediately began working with them. He wanted to inspire young people all over the world just as others had done for him.  FareShare has helped to enact a substantial transformation since March 2020 according to their official webpage, when Marcus first joined.

With the help from Man-U forward, FareShare were able to raise enough money to distribute over 21 million meals for families in need. Marcus did not just jump on the bandwagon for one campaign, he has raised awareness for child hunger within the UK, driving this issue to the top of most news agendas with his social media presence 

Man UTurn

Astonishingly Marcus’ use of his exceptional social media presence saw him directly influencing government policy. His ‘#MakeTheUTurn’ campaign saw the voucher scheme which was a replacement solution for free school meals throughout the lockdown period, extended over the summer-this helped countless families feed their children and get back on their feet during and after the pandemic. 

This allowed 1.3 million vulnerable children to continue to be provided for, their families had it easier while their children were being fed and things could finally start returning to some kind of normality- Marcus truly is an inspiration to the masses. 

Footballer’s have a reputation of using acts of kindness as publicity stunts, but Marcus has shown he is much more interested in enacting meaningful change with absolutely no reward for himself. Marcus has shown his determination to use his platform for the greater good in helping to abolish food poverty across the UK one step at a time. 

Marcus has stepped into the shoes of the workers at FareShare and has been working with them to distribute the food that has been funded through various fundraising events. Showing his support for a charity and actively supporting them throughout the coronavirus pandemic has allowed for changes that may have never occurred without his support and social media presence. 


Helping the Homeless

Before his inspirational stance against food poverty, Marcus set up a Christmas campaign in 2019 for young people who were battling homelessness. 

Using his vast connections, Marcus partnered with Selfridges to launch this campaign to support and help some of the city’s biggest homeless shelters including Barnabus, Centrepoint and Lifeshare– places that are full of vulnerable and poor homeless people.

Marcus’ Christmas campaign prepared shoeboxes filled with essential items which could include gloves, sanitary, and hygiene products. These could then be dropped off at various Selfridges branches to be passed on to the homeless shelters- giving people what they need most is something Marcus stands by which is something he has proved in recent years. 

The homeless organisation spoke of Marcus’ generosity, after he personally delivered 300 boxes to Centrepoint. The Homeless organisation wrote “We believe that sport has the power to positively transform young lives.” This proves that Marcus is changing the nation both on the pitch and off of it. 

During the campaign run, over 1200 boxes were donated to homeless shelters. Marcus and his mum Melanie, personally handed many of them out.


Small Acts Often Say the Most

Marcus even began learning sign language after receiving a letter from a young fan asking him to judge the World Book Day poetry competition. Deaf children within Manchester wrote poems and they wanted Marcus to be the judge- this was something he was honoured to be asked.

Marcus agreed to be a judge and instantly began learning sign language to be able to talk to the children on a personal level. He is hoping to meet the children in person once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, to give out the awards first-hand- this is something he holds very dear to his heart. The fact that Marcus went through the effort of learning an entirely new language illustrates just how kind his heart truly is, and definitely puts to rest any rumours of publicity stunts.


Looking for Support in Crisis

Rashford’s support and encouragement has shown young children that they can succeed and work towards their goals even if they are struggling financially or using food banks…this does not define them, which is something Marcus wanted to show. Marcus is a role model for those that the system that we live in has failed. He has provided them with motivation and an exemplary attitude that all young people should not allow negativity and stigma to prevent them from receiving help. 

Receiving help doesn’t mean you can’t be independent; it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed; it means you are honest and understand that sometimes you need that helping hand to push you forward and to help you pave your own way in life. 

Without the support of free school meals, breakfast clubs and food banks the amazing, courageous, and inspirational Manchester United Forward Marcus Rashford may not be in the career or position that he is in now. Without the support Marcus received he would not have been able to raise £20 million for FareShare to support vulnerable children and families, this is something he is extremely proud of.


Backing Yourself and Your Ambition

Marcus’ skill on the pitch did not appear overnight, he has stated during an interview with Rewirefitness “I learn something new every game. Every game is always different, no matter how you try and think about it beforehand.”                                                                                                  

Understanding that you learn as you progress through life is a big achievement that he has shown to be crucial. You don’t start off at your best, but with commitment and a positive mindset you can improve dramatically and eventually you will see the results that you want.

Even if you have no idea what you want to do in life, this is not a deterrent from succeeding in life. Think about your hobbies, your interests, even certain skills that you have picked up over the years. These are all qualities that you can combine and use within a vast number of jobs that you absolutely adore. 

Ask yourself whether you enjoy certain activities or environments, if you are not prepared to admit your faults and be open minded to setbacks then you will not be able to get to the finish line. 

Remember the hurdles are on the way to the finish line. They are not there to stop you, they may slow you down, but you will always be able to reach the finish line.