Blues midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips joined over 1000 young people at the City of Manchester Stadium this week as they took the chance to try snowboarding, rock climbing, abseiling and bungee jumping.
The free activities were part of the official launch of the thrill-packed Play and Adventure project organised by the club’s registered charity City in the Community - and Shaun Wright-Phillips cast an envious glance at the bungee jumpers especially.
England winger Shaun joked: "I've no fear of heights and I'm an adrenalin junkie! I'm the sort of person who thinks you should try everything once, and when I retire from playing there'll be things like that to try.
"It's just fantastic that the club is able to do something like this, but then City has always had close links with the community ever since I can remember as a kid. We put something back as a club, and the kids love it."
Since last summer the scheme has worked with over 1000 young people between the ages of eight and 19, giving them the chance to take part in activities such as mountain biking and canoeing. As part of the project CITC also runs free play activities in parks and green spaces across Manchester.
The Play and Adventure scheme is funded by the Premier League/PFA Community Fund and supported by Manchester City Council, Sport England and 4CT.
The new PL/PFA Community Fund enables Premier League clubs' community departments to apply for grants to start innovative new projects, or develop and enhance the many they already deliver. The £12.9m three-year fund is administered and managed by the Football Foundation.
Gordon Taylor, the PFA chief executive, said: “The PFA have helped to underpin Community Schemes and Social Intervention programmes at football clubs for many years helping effect positive change in society.
“The Premier League/PFA Community Fund has enabled Premier League clubs to engage and develop their programmes of activity and the City in the Community Play and Adventure project is an excellent example of further increasing opportunities to young people in both sporting and non-sporting contexts.”
Manchester’s Sport’s Physical and Activity Alliance is a key partner in the scheme. Councillor Mike Amesbury, executive member for culture and leisure at Manchester City Council, said: "This is a wonderful initiative giving young people the opportunity to have a go at adventure sports they may not have had chance to try before.
“We place great emphasis on the benefits of physical activity for young people and so we're fully supportive of this fantastic sporting programme that is both fun and accessible for all."
The launch is also supported by Getting Manchester Moving, CITC’s flagship health programme that in partnership with Manchester City Council and Manchester Public Health Development Service aims to raise awareness about the importance of taking part in regular physical activity.
Alex Williams, CITC’s Executive Manager, said: “We were delighted that Shaun could attend the launch on Tuesday. The day was a great success and it was fantastic to see so many young people involved in new activities such as snowboarding at a football stadium.”
For more information about the Play and Adventure project please contact the CITC office on 0161 438 7711 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org