Marcus Rashford MBE has launched a book club which aims to encourage young disadvantaged children to read.
The United star will be helping to pick out books that will depict a diverse array of characters, which he hopes will appeal to the youngsters.
The books chosen will feature a stamp showing they are a part of the Marcus Rashford Book Club and he will also be mentioning them on his social media.
He said that his books ‘are, and always will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself’, with partner charities giving away books to disadvantaged children.
The new scheme is in collaboration with Macmillan Children’s Books. In an interview with The Sun, Rashford said: “I just wish I was offered the opportunity to really engage with reading more as a child, but books were never a thing we could budget for as a family when we needed to put food on the table.”
He explained that it wasn’t until he was 17 when he started to love to read.
As it stands, 380,000 children in the UK do not own a book. He wants the ‘escapism’ offered by a good book to be accessible ‘for all children. Not just those that can afford it.’
Rashford is even co-writing a non-fiction self-help book titled ‘YOU ARE A CHAMPION: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice and Be the BEST You Can Be’.
The latest efforts by Rashford come just two weeks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to provide free school meals over the winter holidays in a U-Turn after Rashford’s campaigning for months.
Johnson personally phoned Rashford earlier this month to alert him to the decision to give £170m extra funding for the measure.
Rashford said he was ‘so proud’ of all those who had united his campaign and that he was ‘overwhelmed by the outpouring of empathy and understanding’, promising his supporters to ‘fight for the rest of my life’ to end child hunger in the UK.
In a statement earlier this month, he said: “Following the game today, I had a good conversation with the Prime Minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK.
“There is still so much more to do, and my immediate concern is the approximate 1.7 million children who miss out on free school meals, holiday provision and Healthy Start vouchers because their family income isn’t quite low enough, but the intent the Government have shown today is nothing but positive and they should be recognised for that.
“The steps made today will improve the lives of near 1.7 million children in the UK over the next 12 months, and that can only be celebrated.”
The money will pay for the Covid Winter Grant Scheme that will support families while the Holiday Activities and Food programme will be extended to cover the Easter, summer and Christmas breaks in 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced.
Healthy Start payments will also help expectant mothers and those with young children on low incomes on the receipt of benefits to buy fresh fruit and vegetable, and is set to rise from £3.10 a week to £4.25 from April next year.
Making the announcement, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: “We want to make sure vulnerable people feel cared for throughout this difficult time and, above all, no one should go hungry or be unable to pay their bills this winter.”