12 Days of Christmas | Kicking out holiday hunger

Today’s ’12 Days of Christmas’ story from Wolves Foundation takes a look at a Holiday Camp which took place in the week leading up to Christmas.

Wolves Foundation put on holiday activity sessions for vulnerable young people from the community as part of a Premier League Kicks campaign which has Marcus Rashford as its ambassador.

The three-day PL Kicks Holiday Camps took place at The Way Youth Zone and Goals in Willenhall in the build-up to Christmas, offering eight to 18-year-olds a range of activities to support their wellbeing, as well as a nutritious meal.

The camps, put on by 75 professional football club community organisations, were also supported by Barclays, and impacted more than 4,500 young people after the break-up of schools for the holidays and the start of the Christmas period.

Manchester United and England star Rashford, himself a former PL Kicks participant having taken part in United’s Street Reds sessions, is an ambassador for the activity alongside his continuing efforts to reduce the effects of food poverty on the nation’s children.

"Football clubs sit in the heart of all communities and have the power to unite people,” says Rashford, who was awarded an MBE two months ago,

“Their response to the pandemic has been incredible and this was about building upon that momentum to support those who were most vulnerable at Christmas.

"Football cares, and I'm thrilled to have worked with the Premier League and Barclays on a programme that not only protects and supports, but enables young people to develop personal skills in areas like financial literacy, food and nutrition, and literacy."

Premier League Kicks aims to engage children and young people of all backgrounds and abilities in football, sport and personal development sessions - providing a trusted, positive influence in high-need areas across England and Wales.

Wolves run an extremely successful PL Kicks project, which has continued to deliver sessions throughout the pandemic even where they had to move online due to regulations.

“We were delighted to take part in this project and deliver three days of Premier League Kicks Holiday camps for young people from the local community,” said Lee Smith, Senior Manager (Operations) with Wolves Foundation.

“With the funding that was available, we wanted to make sure we were impacting those young people who needed us most, and were focused on finding where exactly that need was.

“So we worked with the Police and other partners from across the city to look at who to support in order to deliver the greatest impact that we could.

“The sessions went really well, and were not just beneficial for the young people, but also our staff, who really enjoy working with participants and making a difference.

“I think everyone has realised over the last year just how much they appreciate the opportunities and the job that they do, and I am sure they had as much fun at the holidays camps as the young people taking part!”