Burberry is partnering with English footballer Marcus Rashford MBE to support numerous youth organisations in London and Manchester, and charities with a global reach. After campaigning heavily over the summer to ensure that the government continue to provide free school meals to young people affected by the coronavirus, the Manchester United and England striker was approached by Burberry to fund local and international youth organisations that hold a special place in Rashford’s own journey.

In honour of Rashford, Burberry will continue working with London Youth to fund grants and programmes for fifteen youth centres that will “make a positive impact in some of London’s most deprived communities,” says Burberry in a press statement. The heritage fashion house is also partnering with the Norbrook Youth Club and Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre in Manchester, which both played a central role to Rashford’s upbringing. Volunteers from both organisations will be collaborating to uplift charities in the Wythenshawe area, where Rashford grew up.

To extend Rashford’s global reach, Burberry is also making donations to New York City non-profit Wide Rainbow, which will “provide art supplies, food deliveries, and music education to young people in these communities as well as fund the creation of art murals to invigorate schools and shelters in New York and Los Angeles.” In Asia, Burberry is joining forces with the International Youth Foundation to contribute to the Global Youth Resiliency Fund. “This will enable young entrepreneurs and community leaders, especially in Asia, to develop solutions to challenges including closing nutrition gaps and unlocking access to livelihoods,” says Burberry.

To celebrate Burberry’s commitment to Rashford’s cause, the off-the-field hero shared a letter to his ten-year-old self about believing in the unique value that you bring to the world, and despite where you come from, to consider where you are going. “I encourage you to dream, because sometimes dreams are all you will have,” writes Rashford in a letter to his younger self, and all young people. “I encourage you to lay your head on the pillow and close your eyes tight and think of better days to come, because luckily for us, our dreams have come true. Would I be the Marcus Rashford you see stood in front of you today if it wasn’t for the hardship and struggle? Simple answer? No. You should never be ashamed to ask for help. Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose. Never drop your head in shame. . . There have been many days that you have felt lesser than others, but no more. Your voice, your stance, your family, your community, and friends, all matter. Whenever you feel like you have very little, know that there are always people willing to give. Just look at those doors wide open welcoming you in for a snack or a chat. If I had to ask one thing of you it would be this. Please, never go to bed feeling like you don’t have a role to play in this life because, believe me when I tell you, the possibilities are endless.”

Ahead, a closer look at Marcus Rashford’s portraits for Burberry’s charitable partnership.

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