Marcus Rashford: Manchester United striker wins PFA Merit Award for fight against child food poverty

Marcus Rashford has vowed to continue his fight against child food poverty after receiving the Professional Footballers’ Association’s merit award for his work tackling the problem.

The Manchester United striker was widely commended earlier this year after forcing Boris Johnson’s government into an embarrassing U-turn over its free school meals policy.

Rashford’s campaign helped to establish a £120m ‘summer food fund’ for 1.3 million pupils in England whose meal provisions had been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Rashford is determined to keep the issue at the forefront of the news agenda, having last week unveiled a child food poverty taskforce, and promised further initiatives on accepting the reward.

“What we’ve done so far, it’s only a short-term answer,” he said. “Me and my team behind me are just trying to find plans on how we can help these children for the rest of their childhood really; to find long-term answers to the problem.

“At the moment we don’t have the answers but we’ll do our best to try to find them, and to progress the situation that they are in at the moment the best we can.

“Obviously I was injured during lockdown, and at the beginning I was working towards getting back with the team, but then there were conversations saying there might not be games until September, and when I was sat at home I just needed something to work towards and a goal to achieve.

“And that was just something I spoke about with my brothers over the phone and rest of my family, and we just tried to find the best way to help people.

“It’s been a long journey, but I think the first phase was probably the hardest bit, which was learning and self-teaching who were the right people to get in contact with to help these children especially.

“We had the ideas but we didn’t know where to pitch them, or who to pitch them to, so that was probably the most difficult phase of everything really. That was right at the beginning of lockdown.

“This is obviously a huge honour, and for me I just hope it encourages and promotes other players to do things to help as much as they can. I’m very happy, and I’ll definitely continue to do my best to help people.”

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