Marcus Rashford says it’s only the beginning of his long campaign to end child food poverty and he has set an objective to make sure the next generation start life with a level playing field.
A lot needs to change for that to happen and Rashford accepts that. It won’t take a quick fix and he has spent the past year — probably longer — fighting to support vulnerable families across the UK.
The Manchester United striker successfully lobbied the Government into a U-turn over its free school meals policy in England during the first coronavirus lockdown, ensuring children in need would recieve food vouchers over the summer months.
On Thursday, he was honoured with the Football Writers’ Association 2021 Tribute Award in recognition of his outstanding campaign to help end child food poverty.
Rashford told the FWA there is still more work to be done.
“I am definitely not at the stage of relief yet, I feel that there is a lot more which needs to be done and a lot more steps which need to be taken forward.
“On the positive side we have started to take a few steps in the right direction, but for me now just because we have done that (it) is not about just sitting back now and being happy with what we have done.
“It is about what is next in the chapter of these children’s lives.”
Rashford adds: “That is the big issue for me and my team who are working on it — the numbers who still don’t have the support they need.
“We know we have managed to reach a lot more people that weren’t getting reached, but there are still people out there who are really struggling.
“If we can make a give or 10 per cent difference to every single one of their lives, then it puts everyone at a good baseline and then we can start to work on foundations for the future.
“But until everyone is on the same playing field, it is difficult to start jumping ahead and asking for things that are necessary, but the timing would be wrong.
“We need to make sure everyone is on the same level first and then we can start to improve that level until they are where they belong.”
Sir Alex Ferguson paid a personal tribute to Rashford, saying: “Marcus has shown to young people in particular there is a different way of dealing with life.
“He has shown great humility, has shown courage to do what he did, so this achievement is well deserved and should be recognised with what he has done.”
Rashford is an inspiration to us all and this won’t be the last award he receives for work off the pitch.