Manchester United footballer Michael Carrick visited a community football project in Oldham that is helping tackle antisocial behaviour.
The Salvation Army Fitton Hill Outreach Centre (Eden Project) in Oldham works with local support groups, such as 3StyleSports, to co-ordinate a range of activities. Midfielder Michael Carrick met young people taking part in a football project run at the outreach centre (Thursday 21 February).
During the visit, local children interviewed Mr Carrick about his sporting heroes, toughest opponents and life as a professional footballer. The Premier League star, who has made more than 300 appearances for Manchester United, watched the children taking part in training before a final question-and-answer and autograph-signing session.
The Salvation Army and 3StyleSports football project aims to empower and inspire participants and the community, as well as provide schools and communities with expert sports provision, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for all.
The partnership also brings together young children to focus their energy and to teach them to communicate with their peers through the medium of football. The project is dedicated to helping young people increase their participation in sport and encourage positive and productive attitudes while breaking down barriers to social integration. Antisocial behaviour has been a serious problem in Oldham.
Michael Carrick said: “Seeing the project in Oldham reminded me of what it was like to be a young boy, wanting to play professional football when I grew up. This Salvation Army-run project allows children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to such initiatives a chance to come together as a community, as friends and develop into well-rounded individuals, all the while sharing their love of the beautiful game."
The Salvation Army Eden Project’s leader, Chris Neilson, said: “It was a real treat for Fitton Hill’s footballers to meet Michael Carrick. In the past, Fitton Hill has been an area associated with antisocial behaviour, but The Salvation Army is working hard to show young people they have potential and is developing that potential through sports. The Salvation Army recognises the value in every person – to have an internationally known footballer visit the project really emphasised that to our kids, too.”