Reds visit Foundation partner school
Club captain Harry Maguire and goalkeeper Tom Heaton surprised students at Manchester United Foundation partner school, Brentwood School and Community College, in the players’ first community visit since the pandemic began.
The players took part in boxing, basketball, and football drills before racing students on bikes on the multi-use games area.
In his first physical community appearance in over a year, Harry expressed his joy at visiting schools and communities again.
“It’s definitely something I’ve missed, coming here to put smiles on kids’ faces, making memories with them and have a little bit of fun ourselves,” United's captain explained.
“When I first joined the club, I realised how much the Foundation does in the community and while I was able to support here and there during the pandemic, the restrictions made it difficult. I’m delighted to be back, and I know all the lads feel this way too, we’ve missed it.”
Goalkeeper Tom Heaton also relished his first visit since re-joining the club, and seeing the work in the school.
He said: “Some of the children struggle with communication, so to use these exercises as a way of expressing themselves and getting their energy out is great. You can see the enjoyment is there – I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it.
“We know the powerful effect that the Foundation can have and it’s so important that these projects continue and have coaches like Conor in the school to give them that extra support. It really is brilliant work.”
Jude Lomas, headteacher at Brentwood, echoed the players’ sentiment and how much the visit means to the students, saying: “It’s been so exciting for them; they’ve absolutely loved the sense of occasion. We’ve not had many visitors during the pandemic, so it’s been really special to be able to welcome Harry and Tom.
“The impact the partnership has had across the school and college has been fantastic. From the start of the pandemic, we received support from the Foundation in a £10,000 grant to spend on whatever would make the students’ lives better, and that was just fantastic.
“Some students stayed at home, some had a part-time placement in school or college; we were able to use that money on an individual basis to support students and their families who were normally reliant on their child coming to school.
“This had a really positive impact on the wellbeing of our families and gave some much-needed respite to parents and the continuity that the students had missed throughout the lockdown.”
The feature was filmed for BBC Match of the Day and aired on Sunday 24 October on their repeat show.