Marcus Rashford is hoping his work to help support vulnerable children will be replicated by others who have a similar platform.
The 22-year-old England and Manchester United forward was awarded an MBE in the delayed Queen’s Birthday Honours list last week.
Rashford launched a high-profile campaign which resulted in the Government changing policy over its free school meals vouchers during the coronavirus lockdown, helping ensure children in need did not go hungry during the summer break.
He has maintained his drive for social change by forming a child food poverty task force, which has linked up with some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets and food brands.
MBE 🇬🇧 I’m incredibly honoured and humbled. As a young black man from Wythenshawe, never did I think I would be accepting an MBE, never mind an MBE at the age of 22. This is a very special moment for myself and my family, but particularly my mum who is the real deserving recipient of the honour. The fight to protect our most vulnerable children is far from over. I would be doing my community, and the families I have met and spoken with, an injustice if I didn’t use this opportunity to respectfully urge the Prime Minister, who recommended me for this honour, to support our children during the October half term with an extension of the voucher scheme, as the furlough scheme comes to an end and we face increased unemployment. Another sticking plaster, but one that will give the parents of millions of children in the UK just one less thing to worry about. Let’s stand together in saying that no children in the UK should be going to bed hungry. As I have said many times before, no matter your feeling or opinion, not having access to food is NEVER the child’s fault.
A post shared by Marcus Rashford MBE (@marcusrashford) on Oct 9, 2020 at 2:29pm PDT
Speaking on the eve of England’s Nations League clash with Denmark, Rashford said he has hope his campaign will inspire similar projects.
“I’m very optimistic about that,” he told BBC Radio 5Live.
“I’m hopeful people do react in that way because I know going forward that it is one of the biggest ways that the issue will start to go away.
“The things that are happening now are so small in the grand scheme of things because the goal is to bring it down as low as we possibly can.
“It is something I feel strongly about and I wouldn’t push anyone to do it because it is important they do what feels right and what is important to them but all I can do is give them the facts and then everyone can help in the way they can because every little helps.
“I’m ambitious about what the future holds and I think the motivation is there from a natural point of view with the things I experienced when I was younger and the people I have known who have been through that.”
Rashford made his debut for club and country while he was still a teenager and has told the next generation to retain hope they can achieve their own goals despite the current uncertainty in the world.
“I know from people in communities that aren’t as stable as others that sometimes a dream for a kid is the one thing they can hold onto – the one thing that is actually theirs,” he added.
“I think, even though how difficult times are at the moment, it is important that we keep repeating ourselves, especially to the younger generation, that your dreams are your most important thing.
“As a child, don’t let go of them, I know the world is a bit crazy at the moment but when I speak to young kids or people just going into high school, it is important for them to know that.”