Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rashford campaigns to get UK kids reading




Rashford campaigns to get UK kids reading

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, successfully lobbied the UK government to feed poor children and has now turned his attention to encouraging kids to read. AFP

Rashford campaigns to get UK kids reading

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford, after forcing British government to feed poorer children in school holidays, on Tuesday launched a new campaign to encourage kids to read – this time with official blessing.

“I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality,” the 23-year-old England striker 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.”

Rashford has teamed up with the publisher Macmillan Children’s Books to launch a series of youth-oriented titles, starting with “YOU ARE A CHAMPION” in May 2021.

Macmillan said each chapter will recap a story from Rashford’s own life and will cover topics such as the value of education, understanding culture, and female role models.

The footballer also plans to launch a book club next year, recommending titles on the Macmillan list.

“There were times where the escapism of reading could have really helped me. I want this escapism for all children. Not just those that can afford it,” he said.

This month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government relented anew to Rashford’s campaigning and promised to give free meals to poorer children over the coronavirus-afflicted Christmas holidays.

After one U-turn already for the summer holidays, the government dropped its opposition to extending the scheme over the festive period, and promised to keep it in place over holidays next year.

The government had resisted giving out meal vouchers to tide poorer families over outside of term time, preferring to offer support via its wider welfare system.

But Rashford’s campaign struck a chord with many, especially with Christmas coming up, and the government had been confronted with regular headlines accusing it of being heartless.

This time, there is no resistance to the footballer’s literacy push.

“It is fantastic that Marcus Rashford is shining a light on the power that books have, and we welcome his book club allowing more children to benefit from the enjoyment which books bring,” Johnson’s official spokesman told reporters.

He was unable, however, to name the PM’s favourite childhood book.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there