The Premier League Inspires programme has been running since 2019, creating life-changing opportunities for young people who have been identified by their schools as needing extra support to engage with activities.
This week we are taking a look at how the programme has had an impact on young people across the country.
Xaio has autism and when he started his secondary school journey at Dean Trust Ardwick in Manchester, he was quiet and did not have many friends.
He was invited to take part in the PL Inspires Leadership Programme run at the school by the MU Foundation, Manchester United’s charitable arm.
This gave him the opportunity to engage with other students as they designed, planned and developed a community garden social-action project within the school grounds.
“The Premier League Inspires challenge has been great for Xaio,” says Dean Trust Ardwick teacher Lucy Ribbands. “To see where he is now, he walks around the corridor, he’s got confidence, he’s got friends.
“He has really progressed and developed and matured. He’s built up the resilience to work on himself.”
By leading other students as well as delivering a presentation to the board of governors, Xaio’s confidence, teamwork and communication skills have improved massively.
“Working with Xaio and seeing him develop and progress as an individual is one of the main things that keeps us working so well in schools,” says the MU Foundation’s Eddy Griffiths.
“What we wanted to try and do is develop a platform where he can develop those soft skills such as confidence and working as a team and engaging with the people around him. Xaio is without a doubt a role model.”
Also in this series
Part 1: PL Inspires celebrates three years of changing lives
Part 3: How Blackburn are helping students make the step up
Part 4: How AFC Bournemouth helped change a schoolboy’s path
Part 5: Learning from the press box: Wigan’s media experience
Part 6: ‘Students believe they have a future thanks to Cardiff City’