As part of the initiative, Rashford and the British brand will support organizations working with disadvantaged children, and helping them develop their literacy skills.
Aiming to ensure that children around the world have access to safe environments where they can develop their skills, the brand will also donate books and fund the creation of libraries across the U.K., U.S. and Asia.
“We’ve identified a real need here,” said Rashford, a youth advocate who has successfully lobbied the British government to provide children with free meals during periods when they are not in school. He has also started a book club through which he distributes books to children from low-income communities.
“Far too many children do not currently have access to books, typically because of financial restraints, and there was a need to inspire them and allow them to see beyond the challenges they face daily. These children need the escapism of reading more than most, and access to books should not be restricted by the area you grow up in.”
He added that coming out of the pandemic, “there was a huge need for safe spaces — a space where children could come and just breathe; process their feelings.”
The football star, who has previously starred in Burberry campaigns and worked with the brand to support youth charities across the world, said he was proud what he and the brand have achieved, building upon the work of the Marcus Rashford Book Club. “I hope children will feel the benefit of these spaces for years to come.”
As part of the initiative Burberry will support the National Literacy Trust in the U.K. to transform the library spaces in 10 schools across the country identified as most in need. The schools will also receive up to 8,000 books from a diverse set of sources, while up to 200 teachers will also be receiving training from the NLT — all in an effort to make access to books and reading spaces more readily available.
According to the NLT, one in four schools in the U.K.’s disadvantaged areas do not have libraries as opposed to the national average of one in eight.
The company also plans to fund the Wide Rainbow charity in the U.S. and the Bring Me A Book Hong Kong initiative, as part of the same project.
“All these organizations play a pivotal role in helping those most in need of access to key resources. Providing safe spaces for the next generation to stretch their imaginations and craft their own stories, drawing inspiration from a diverse range of literature, is critical to developing their confidence and ambitions for the future,” said Pam Batty, Burberry’s vice president of corporate responsibility.