McDonald’s and the UK Football Associations are inviting parents to sign up for one of over 160 McDonald’s Fun Football Centres, designed to give fun, free physical activity to thousands of children across the country. A new survey shows that over-half (52%) of parents are facing financial difficulties as a direct result of the pandemic, and 72% are desperately seeking opportunities for their children to be more active - meaning the centres will be more important than ever for families.
From Aberdeen to Yeovil the sessions up and down the country aim to introduce thousands of 5-11 year olds to the nation’s favourite game for the first time regardless of gender or ability. With almost-a-third (30%) of parents saying their children have avoided similar sporting events before because they didn’t feel confident to go alone, and almost-half (48%) wanting the appropriate Covid-19 safety measures to be in place, the activity is relaxed, welcoming and set-up to be a fun, simple and easy way to introduce children to football.
Every session is designed to be as safe as possible, and all activity follows the latest guidance from the Football Associations, government and public health authorities.
Recent research also found that 93% of UK parents said they are likely to enrol their child in organised sporting activity as soon as they become available, showing the clear appetite following months of lockdown and isolation. The programme gives those families who have missed out on sport and peer-to-peer interaction over the past five months, a chance to safely enjoy football. The Fun Football curriculum includes introductory activities perfect for children with no footballing experience, helping them develop their all-round skills, get active and make new friends.
Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s UK and Ireland Chief Executive Officer said: “This Autumn we will run more than 800 free football sessions for 5-11 year olds to get them playing the beautiful game. As a dad of two football-mad children desperate for activities during lockdown, I know how important it is kids to get out and about, socialising and being active. Through our Fun Football programme we are proudly providing 5 million hours of football for children and introducing more than half a million new players to the game by 2022.”
The Fun Football sessions are part of the four year deal between McDonald’s and the four UK Football Associations, which will see the restaurant company provide over 5 million hours of football to 5-11 year olds by 2022, having already delivered 2.8m by March this year. This round of Fun Football Centres will provide a further 20,000 hours with Covid-19 safety measures in place.
Having worked with The FA over the past 18 years, McDonald’s is the longest-standing supporter of grassroots football in the UK and the opening of these Fun Football Centres is another important step in building on this ongoing partnership.