It’s the UN’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace and to mark the occasion Manchester City is shining the spotlight on its community leaders.
As we celebrate the power of sport, we’re introducing fans to two inspiring individuals, one who is responsible for our community work in Manchester and the other who leads a global project in Mexico City.
First up is Brenda from El Coyol, a town north of the country's capital, who is responsible for Fútbol Matters, which received the most votes in the 2016/17 Cityzens Giving campaign.
Working alongside her schoolmates and charity partner love.fútbol, the project has received £100,000 to rebuild something more than just a football pitch, thanks to the support from Manchester City fans around the world.
“All the children love football around here”, says Brenda.
“But the facilities are in awful conditions. Nets and bars are broken and the lightning is very poor.”
It’s dark and dangerous, but this new project is determined to make the area shine again.
Football has always been focal point of the community and it is understood that the ground, particularly on matchday, is a home for the local people, where they can go not just to watch, but also to socialise.
Now, Fútbol Matters’ young leaders will build a safe space for 400 children to play football and teach them skills to support their future employability.
“We’ll organise meetings and tournaments so families come here with their children”, Brenda adds.
“We’ll have videos on, events around food - we want the people of the community to live together here and to create a safe space.
“We want to prevent young people from getting into drugs and alcohol.
“Children don’t have a place fit for them to play on, so they stay at home. We want them to be outdoors and to exercise!”
The new pitch is expected to be ready in August and 400 children are expected to use it in the first year as 24 people under the age of 30 take charge of the project.
Back in Manchester, City in the Community will welcome young leaders from Mexico City to the City Football Academy in June for an enhanced leadership summit, which aims to develop their leadership and community football coaching skills.
We’ll keep you posted on their progress!