Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford has followed his campaign on food poverty by launching a book club aimed at helping children from all backgrounds get a fair start in life.
The England star, who revealed his “outlook and mentality” changed completely when started reading aged 17, has joined forces with Macmillan Children's Books (MCB) to promote reading and literacy among children from all socio-economic backgrounds.
MCB say there will be a particular focus on getting books into the hands of children from vulnerable and under-privileged backgrounds.
The book club follows Rashford’s remarkable campaigning around food poverty throughout this year, during which he has twice persuaded the Government to perform a u-turn on the provision of ‘free school meals’ to vulnerable children during holidays.
Rashford, 23, said: "I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality.
"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.
"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.
"We know there are over 380,000 children across the UK today that have never owned a book, children that are in vulnerable environments. That has to change.
"My books are, and always will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself. We will reach them."
The first title of the partnership, aimed at young people aged 11 to 16, will be published in May 2021 and two fiction titles for readers aged seven and up will follow later in 2021 and 2022.
Next year will also see the launch of the Marcus Rashford Book Club, a reader-recommends programme publishing front-list titles from MCB's successful list.
Pic credit: BBC.