Oldham pupils meet Manchester United legend for school project

A Manchester United football legend visited a Royton school as it celebrated opening a new ‘safe space’ on the premises.

The GCE Lounge and ‘safe space’ initiative will ensure that Royton and Crompton students have a comfortable social space to go to after school.

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Inside, there is a games room, complete with a pool table and games console, a chill-out room where students can relax and socialise as well as a quiet workspace where the youngsters can study and complete homework or coursework.

The space has been funded by the Manchester United Foundation and is the first of its kind by the group.

The initiative came as research by the foundation revealed that young people in Greater Manchester currently see a real need for safe places for young people to go outside of school.

Inspired by this, the school and the foundation worked together to refurbish the community hub that is already on the school site.

The school held a celebration event to welcome representatives from the foundation who met the headteacher, Andrea Atkinson, student leaders, members of the safe space and the professional footballer.

Wes answered questions from pupils and held a practical outdoor football session while an assembly was held across the school to provide more details about the partnership.

As well as using football to engage and inspire young people to build a better life for themselves and the communities in which they live, the Manchester United Foundation also has dedicated staff to deliver outreach programmes to help young people make positive choices in their lives.

Royton and Crompton is one of 30 school partnerships with a foundation officer to achieve this and funds from the partnership has also provided the school with gym facilities.

Wes said: “I always like to come and show my support for what the foundation does in the community and schools.

“The communal space of the GCE Lounge is fantastic, especially that it has been designed and developed by the students.

“The facilities across the school are brilliant, it’s very different to when I went to school.

“It’s great that the young people are so involved and take command of what they need and how to benefit their school and community.”

Andrea added: “I want to say a big thank you to Manchester United Foundation for funding the GCE Lounge at the school.

“It’s brilliant that we can offer students somewhere to hang out and even better that it sits alongside our existing community hub, which the foundation has also helped us refurbish.

“School is about more than just what happens in the classroom and we are delighted to be able to offer these assets to the young people in our community.”

Tom Campbell, CEO of E-ACT, said: “Everyone at E-ACT is delighted that the safe space is now open and available for students to use.

“It’s so important that young people have spaces to visit where they feel safe and I am grateful to Manchester United Foundation for their work on this, and for everything they do to support children across our academies.”

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