Marcus Rashford has launched his own book club to encourage disadvantaged children to read.
The Manchester United star, 23, will help pick out books, with a diverse array of characters, which he feels will appeal to youngsters under the new initiative.
The titles picked to be a part of the Marcus Rashford Book Club will be sold in shops – along with a stamp saying they are a part of the scheme – and they will be mentioned by the footballer on his social media.
He will also partner with charities to give away books to disadvantaged children as he said his books ‘are, and always will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself.’
During an interview with The Sun to announce the launch of the new scheme with Macmillan Children’s Books, Rashford addressed his own upbringing and early relationship with reading.
Marcus Rashford (pictured) has launched his own book club to encourage disadvantaged children to read
The Manchester United star, 23, (left) will help pick out books, with a diverse array of characters, which he feels will appeal to youngsters under the new initiative. During an interview with The Sun to announce the launch of the Marcus Rashford Book Club, Rashford (pictured as a child, right) addressed his own upbringing and early relationship with reading
He said: ‘I just wish I was offered the opportunity to really engage with reading more as a child, but books were never a thing we could budget for as a family when we needed to put food on the table.’
Rashford said it wasn’t until he was 17 years old that he started to love to read. As it stands, there are 380,000 children in Britain who have not owned a book.
Now, he wants the ‘escapism’ offered by a good book to be accessible ‘for all children. Not just those that can afford it.’
Rashford is currently co-writing a non-fiction self-help book titled YOU ARE A CHAMPION: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice and Be the BEST You Can Be.
Two books aimed at children over seven are also set to be penned by the footballer to be released in 2022.
The announcement of the United and England star’s latest project comes less than two weeks after Boris Johnson agreed to provide free school meals over the winter holidays in another U-Turn – a cause Rashford has been campaigning for months.
The Prime Minister personally phoned the Manchester United star earlier this month to alert him to the decision to give £170 million of extra funding for the measure.
Rashford (pictured with his mother) was honoured with an MBE this year for his campaign to end child poverty
The announcement of the United and England star’s latest project comes less than two weeks after Boris Johnson agreed to provide free school meals over the winter holidays in another U-Turn – a cause Rashford has been campaigning for months
The Government last month whipped Conservative MPs to vote against a Labour motion in the House of Commons calling for the extension of free school meal provision following Rashford’s campaign.
Rashford said he was ‘so proud’ of those who had united behind his campaign and that he was ‘overwhelmed by the outpouring of empathy and understanding’, promising his supporters to ‘fight for the rest of my life’ to end child hunger in the UK.
In a statement earlier this month, he said: ‘Following the game today, I had a good conversation with the Prime Minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK.
‘There is still so much more to do, and my immediate concern is the approximate 1.7 million children who miss out on free school meals, holiday provision and Healthy Start vouchers because their family income isn’t quite low enough, but the intent the Government have shown today is nothing but positive and they should be recognised for that.
Pictured: A mural of Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford by Street artist Akse on the wall of the Coffee House Cafe in Withington, South Manchester
‘The steps made today will improve the lives of near 1.7 million children in the UK over the next 12 months, and that can only be celebrated.’
The footballer, who was made an MBE for his successful campaign for free meals to be issued during the national lockdown, launched his latest drive after Parliament rejected proposals to provide the free meals for vulnerable children.
The money will pay for the Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support families over the season while the Holiday Activities and Food programme will be extended to cover the Easter, summer and Christmas breaks in 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced.
As part of the package, Healthy Start payments – which help expectant mothers and those with young children on low incomes and in receipt of benefits to buy fresh fruit and vegetables – are set to rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021.
Making the announcement, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: ‘We want to make sure vulnerable people feel cared for throughout this difficult time and, above all, no one should go hungry or be unable to pay their bills this winter.’