Tens of thousands of pounds that were raised after Marcus Rashford’s mural was defaced will be donated to a food poverty charity in Grande Manchester.
The artwork was vandalised hours after England’s European Championship final loss as Rashford and fellow players Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka suffered racist abuse online.
Nearly £40,000 was raised by members of the public in an online campaign to repair the mural in Withington, which depicts the 23-year-old player’s face alongside the words: “Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose.”
As well as donations, the mural’s wall was plastered with thousands of tributes from fans as people rallied in support of the Manchester United striker. Hundreds also took part in a Stand Up to Racism rally by the artwork on Copson Street, which is near where Rashford grew up and went to school. The footballer said the outpouring of support really lifted him at one of his lowest points.
The mural has since been restored by street artist Akse. Police said that the “content of the vandalism” was “not believed to be of a racial nature” but inquiries are ongoing.
It was announced last week that the thousands of messages that had been left on the mural would be removed and preserved in order to create “a lasting legacy of tolerance, love, and solidarity for future generations to learn from”.
Rashford, who has worked on a number of food poverty campaigns, said the money raised would be donated to FareShare Greater Manchester, to “guarantee that we reach more children in need this summer”. Some of the funds will be used to cover the cost of repairs to the wall.
The charity, which has partnered with Rashford, is part of the UK’s largest food charity, FareShare, and works to fight hunger and food waste by redistributing unwanted food across the region. FareShare Greater Manchester said reliance on the charity reached unprecedented levels during the pandemic, with between 50,000 e 60,000 persone and about 230 frontline charities depending on it each week.
Rashford, who is campaigning to end child food poverty, has been instrumental in forcing the government into a series of U-turns over its free school meals policy. In ottobre 2020, he was awarded an MBE in recognition of his services to vulnerable children in the UK during the pandemic.
Il government’s holiday activities and food programme, which was expanded last year amid growing public concern about food poverty during the holidays, has come under fire in recent weeks after Labour said it provided free meals for only 16 of a total of 30 weekdays during the six-week summer break.