“Some of the schools we work in have to provide shoes and uniform to the kids. They have to run breakfast clubs, as well as dinner clubs. These children are born into a predicament where, unless someone intervenes, this is going to be their lives. Our plan is to go in and intervene to help them achieve their potential. To empower them to think: I can get myself out of this. To trust in themselves; to believe in themselves. To go out of their comfort zones.
“We do a lot of work in schools. We do a lot of work in community engagement, through our Street Reds project. The Treble Reunion will help us fund that.
”There’s not much public funding anymore. There are not many youth clubs now. There are not many safe places for kids to go now, unless you go to something that’s organised and there are adults there. So we give kids the opportunity to go to a place and to people who look after them, who make them safe, who challenge them, give them a good run round and keep them fit and well. We are there 48 weeks in a year, wind, rain or shine. It gives them an alternative.”
The Foundation’s aim is to inject positivity and provide disadvantaged children with the skills and personal qualities that might help them get a job, and help them be successful.
“What do you need to get a job? You do need your English and maths, which is education,” says Shiels, “but you also need to have an energy about yourself, an attitude. To be confident, reliable, to be able to communicate. We take the traits of success from Manchester United and say: this is what you need, guys and girls, to be successful. You need to be focused, disciplined, determined, resilient.