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Peter Schmeichel Celebrates a Decade of Barclays Spaces for Sports

Thu 4th Sep 2014 | Marketing & PR

Manchester United FC legend Peter Schmeichel was the main attraction for local youngsters yesterday as he helped them celebrate the tenth anniversary of Barclays Spaces for Sports, a partnership established in 2004 by Barclays and the Football Foundation, which has created 200 community sports sites across the UK.

The former Manchester United goalkeeper joined young people at the state-of-the-art Barclays Spaces for Sports facility, the Old Trafford Sports Barn, Manchester. Peter and the other VIPs in attendance heard Amit Mandahlia recall how he had used the Old Trafford Sports Barn facility since it opened in 2005. During this time, he took part in sports sessions and now has a permanent part time job at the Sports Barn as a TUF*C Coach. As a TUF*C Coach, Amit coaches various football sessions as well as cricket. He explained how the Sports Barn played a significant role in increasing his confidence and ability to communicate.

Prior to the £600,000 investment in the site – £300,000 each from Barclays and the Football Foundation – the outdoor areas of Old Trafford Sports Barn were wholly unusable. Now, though, the site is a community hub of sporting activity with an indoor sports hall, an artificial grass pitch and two hard-court areas. Two additional grants totalling £65,000 were awarded by Barclays to ensure the sites remain sustainable over the long term.

Sport has the power to inspire, build bridges across communities and deliver positive social change. In support of this, since 2004, Barclays has invested over £40m in community sport programmes and facilities to help individuals achieve their ambitions.

That investment means that more than 53,000 people use Spaces for Sports sites across the UK every week, for a range of different sporting activities.The programme is working to ensure the sites are sustainable community resources in the long-term.

Peter Schmeichel said “It was a great occasion for me to help celebrate ten years of Barclays Spaces for Sports. You only have to listen to Amit's amazing story to realise just how important sites like this are in providing opportunities for young people. Barclays and the Football Foundation deserve real credit for their investment over the last decade.”

Spaces for Sports uses the positive values of sport to help young people from disadvantaged communities develop the skills they need to reach their potential. It is part of Barclays' commitment to 5 Million Young Futures – a goal to build the next generation of achievers by helping them develop enterprise, employability and financial skills.

David Wheldon, Managing Director, Brand, Reputation, Citizenship and Marketing at Barclays, said “From our longstanding investment in sport – both at the elite and grassroots level – we know it is an enormously effective way to engage young people and communities. Barclays Spaces for Sports is part of our broader goal to build 5 Million Young Futures and give the next generation the skills they need to achieve their ambitions and become financially independent. We know we can't do this alone and we're proud to work with expert partners, such as the Football Foundation, to help marginalised young people improve their changes in life.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive, The Football Foundation, said “Thanks to Barclays' and the Football Foundation's investment over the last decade, more than 53,000 people are now using Spaces for Sports sites across the UK every week. Undoubtedly the programme has created a lasting sports infrastructure legacy that can get people active and regenerate hundreds of deprived communities across the UK. In addition to the initial capital investment we and Barclays provided to build these sites, the Football Foundation is now working with Barclays to ensure the long-term sustainability of them.”

Posted by: Kev Howland 

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