FORMER MANCHESTER United star Rio Ferdinand continues to help today’s youth. The Rio Ferdinand Foundation together with partners across the world of sport, music, culture, e-sports and business have launched a new youth-led programme, United Against Racism (UAR).
The youth development charity doesn’t just want to talk about racism, instead through the United Against Racism brand, they have put a spotlight on young people and the power of community. United Against Racism inspires young people to get involved, to create projects, and to participate.
United Against Racism draws on the support of like-minded organisations, to stand together, to inspire opportunity, and to celebrate youth-led social action. It is youth-led programmes such as United Against Racism that will play a pivotal role in connecting our communities and empowering change.
This latest programme from the Rio Ferdinand Foundation is released as the charity celebrates 10 years of creating strong, safe and inclusive communities. Over 10,000 young people have been engaged in safe spaces since the charity was formed in 2011.
Global events, such as the killing of George Floyd in summer 2020, reignited the social movement Black Lives Matter and created the momentum for change we see in our communities. The Rio Ferdinand Foundation works to strengthen the UK’s most deprived communities to tackle inequality, and the United Against Racism programme sits at the heart of its core beliefs.
The United Against Racism programme will further support the charity’s mission to inspire young people, connect communities and empower change across the UK and Ireland.
Ferdinand, who won 81 caps for England, said: “United Against Racism bring together communities, businesses and other stakeholders to support young people and empower them to develop skills and deliver projects that will tackle inequality and racism in their neighbourhoods. It’s a youth-led initiative to bring communities together through the power of sports, music and all areas of popular culture, underpinned by training and skills-based activities to help them achieve their potential in life.”
“Our programmes will be delivered face to face in communities and online and will have a reach across the UK and Ireland. I am proud of the young people that have built this programme to date and would like to ask people to get involved and support our young people in any way they can to deliver change and tackle racism at a grassroots level.”
United Against Racism represents a shared agenda, with many athletes, artists and influencers pledging their support to amplify the UAR message; including Arts Ambassador actor Colin Salmon, and Music Ambassador Heather Small, who has produced a charity single United Together for the programme.
The year-long programme has also received backing from a wealth of organisations, each pledging their support to the UAR goals, including; Sky, Music Against Racism, UEFA Foundation, LDN UTD, the Professional Footballers Association, Phoenix Sports Media Group, New Era, and the Black Police Association.
However; central to the social action programme is young people, and organisers are keen to introduce three Youth Ambassadors; Poppy from Salford, Tyra from London and Leo from Belfast, who will champion the programme regionally, and play an integral role in delivering a series of high profile events and community initiatives.
Leo said: “The RFF embodies all the values that I hold myself and I can’t wait to carry the torch and make a change in my city.
“Things need to be done for all of us to communicate and express ourselves openly in safe spaces and the RFF has given me an opportunity to do that.”