The 2019 Cityzens Giving Young Leaders Summit, supported by Etihad Airways, enables young people from 17 cities globally to increase their skills and confidence to deliver life-changing community football sessions in their local communities.

On day three of the Summit, our returning leaders were set a challenge to design an inclusive football programme to raise awareness about global water issues and provide life-saving education about safe water and sanitation.

Each group pitched their proposal to Manchester City’s official water technology partner, Xylem, and City Football Group staff, with the winning project being announced later in the week. 

Working in cross-city teams, the Young Leaders had just three hours to prepare their presentations before delivering them to the panel in the Boardroom at the CFA.

Despite being out of their comfort zone, the groups rose to the challenge, proposing a range of innovative ideas, from a football pitch that collects and recycles rainwater to WASH education programmes through football and reusing plastic discarded in local waterways to make cones and goalposts.

Tom Pitchon, City’s Global Foundation Director and panel member, said: “It was a privilege to be part of the Project Pitch panel. This was one of the most personally challenging sessions for our Young Leaders and it was both humbling and inspiring to see them rise to that challenge.

"The Young Leaders came up with some fantastic ideas for how to address water challenges through football.” 

Whist this was taking place, the other Young Leaders travelled into the heart of the Manchester community to deliver community football sessions to local primary schools.

They developed these sessions alongside City in the Community coaches at the beginning of the Summit and gained first-hand experience of how football can help tackle different issues across Manchester. 

In the evening, the Young Leaders had the opportunity to hear from Manchester City’s Esme Morgan about her own journey in football, leading up to her signing her first professional contract with the club. They also took part in a #SAMEGOALS tournament with Manchester City staff and members of the Manchester City Walking Football team. 

With just two days left at the Summit, the Young Leaders still have plenty to learn and share, before the culmination of the week – a football festival for school children from across Manchester.