The City and Germany star visited EachStep Blackley, delighting City fans among the residents and staff alike.
Gundogan felt it was time to give back to the city he calls his second home and after visiting a few local care homes - EachStep in Blackley which cares for people dementia and St Annes, which cares for younger people - he was invited to become an ambassador – a role he was delighted to accept.
“On my 30th birthday, I visited some local community integrated care homes – even though the Coronavirus situation meant I couldn’t physically meet people,” he said.
“I was able to speak to people through windows, at a safe distance or on the phone because people need help and support, especially in times like these.
“It was a little bit of a gift to myself because I feel privileged in my life and I wanted to give something back of the privilege that I feel.
“I did it for my birthday last year and I did it again this year and I really like the people behind this project and feel they way they are dealing with these situations is incredible and we just agreed to do an ambassadorship because I feel there are still a lot of things we can do together and still a lot of people we can help together.
“I met some really lovely people during my visits.
“I had a Zoom call a couple of weeks ago with some of the members and I just feel it is nice to give something back, especially in a city like Manchester – a place I have lived for almost five years and call my second home. I just feel it is important for me to be involved.”
Ilkay believes the global pandemic is changing people’s outlook on life and bringing greater unity.
“It’s nice to think of others and not just yourself – maybe the person right by the side of you who is perhaps struggling more than yourself,” he continued.
“I think COVID-19 has made us more aware of things. It’s not like footballers didn’t already do things that help others – I feel that has always been there – but this situation has made us all more aware of things and what is really important.
“If we use our position to speak up more about this these type of projects, it helps them get noticed more, but it is something that needs to continue going forward.
“We need to appreciate what we have and for me, that is my friends and family being healthy and well and for me, that’s the only thing that matters and I’m looking forward to when I can spend time with them again.”