Manchester City’s captain Richard Dunne visited a Wythenshawe primary school this week to help the Club give away 800 trees as part of their commitment to the environment.
The Club is giving the trees away to schools, community groups and sports clubs across Manchester to offset some of the carbon emissions from the City of Manchester Stadium.
And as part of the Premier League’s Creating Chances initiative Richard worked with young people from Newall Green Primary School to help renovate an area of waste land in the school and turn it into a working garden with vegetables and trees.
City’s skipper said: "I helped the kids with their vegetable patch and to plant apple trees. It’s great to see the enjoyment they get from it today and again in a couple of months time when things start growing. It’s great for the kids and enjoyable for myself."
He wasn't joking either as he revealed: "We have a vegetable patch, we’ve got chickens, and dogs to look after as well so we try and do our bits. A few of our friends in our road have got vegetable patches too and the neighbours all share out we’ve grown.
"I’ve got a young girl as well, so I try and do stuff like this at home and get her involved, it’s good to see the enjoyment she gets out of it.
"I think it’s good for her and hopefully she’ll appreciate where the food comes from or is grown and then eating it is enjoyable for her. It would make her a bit more aware of what happens and the fact that not everything has to be bought in a shop - you can plant and grow your own food."
By helping with the first step along the way, Richard knows from his own experience that the Newall Green pupils will reap the benefits in the near future.
He added: "It’s enjoyable for the kids and they seem to like it and it’s good for the environment. Any kid likes been out and playing around in a bit of mud and getting their hands dirty. So it’s good for them and better than sitting in a classroom all day for them.
"They’ll be here every day maintaining it and in three or four months time they’ll see the fruits of it when things start to grow and that will be really enjoyable for them. I’d like to come back and see how far it’s come along and hopefully get some vegetables off them next year.
"It’s so easy to pop into the supermarket and buy whatever, but for half the price you can do your own vegetable patch and have all the healthy food in your back garden to eat whenever.
“The Club are very aware of the need to look after the environment and Creating Chances is a great way of getting the players involved in projects such as this.”
Alex Williams MBE, who manages the Club's registered charity City in the Community, said: “Each year City in the Community work with over 5,000 young people on environment projects and it’s great that Richard visited Newall Green to help re-enforce the message.”
And overseeing Richard's labour was Simon Hewitt, CITC's Enviroment and Enterprise Co-ordinator, who added: "The reason behind it is that our carbon footprint is quite high and we’re looking to offset that by planting 800 trees.
"As a starting block we’ve put the first tree in the ground today and it’s an apple tree along with the vegetable patch that's here as well.
"They’re putting in lettuces, tomatoes and in the orchard there are also grapes growing and a raspberry tree, so there’s lots of fruit and vegetables on the school grounds that are going to be used for future purposes.
"It’s fantastic for the kids and they’ve loved it. With Richard being here they’ve thoroughly enjoyed themselves, which was the idea behind it, so it’s been great."
For more information please contact Tom Flower at City in the Community on 0161 438 7715 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.