Melbourne City FC’s I Speak Football program, conducted by Young Leaders across Melbourne has been the beneficiary of a fan-voted global initiative through City Football Group.
The project, which is conducted at five sites across Melbourne and promotes social inclusion among the city’s multicultural population, received the highest percentage of votes in the global Cityzens Giving campaign.
Cityzens Giving gives fans the opportunity to decide how $695,200 – pledged by City Football Group and its partners – is distributed between six youth-led community projects that are using football to tackle pressing societal issues.
The initiative encourages fans of Manchester City, New York City FC and Melbourne City FC to vote to allocate funds to community projects across the world, with Melbourne’s project earning 21 per cent of the 770,288 votes, equating to a grant of $145,336.
On Wednesday, City players Luke Brattan, Osama Malik, Nick Fitzgerald, Sofia Sakalis, Larissa Crummer and Lauren Barnes attended the I Speak Football project in Fitzroy to deliver the news to the Young Leaders and participants who will benefit from the initiative.
The funding will allow the Club to run its annual a four-day Young Leader training each January, new social inclusion programs in schools and an I Speak Football tournament each year. The grant will also be utilised to establish an innovation group to engage young people in the community.
Malik said it had been wonderful to see I Speak Football awarded receive global recognition from City fans.
“It’s a program I have been involved in for the last couple of years, so for them to get this grant is amazing, it’s such a well-run program that brings a lot of joy to many of the participants,” Malik said.
Manchester’s City Girls project will receive $105,971, which will be used to fund weekly girls-only football sessions across the city, with the aim of reducing the number of females dropping out of the game.
Support for the global project will also allow Young Leaders in four other cities – New York, Bangkok, Los Angeles and Guangzhou – to deliver their inspiring, football-based community work.
Now in its fourth year, the Cityzens Giving campaign has seen the City Football Group and its partners commit more than $3.71million and builds on the blueprint, expertise and work of City in the Community over the last 30 years.
This global footprint continues to expand and currently City Football Group community football projects in 18 cities around the world, providing both funding and training to enhance these projects and empower young leaders to address social issues affecting their communities.
In addition to this year’s projects, City Football Group is also continuing to fund programmes in Beijing, Bandung, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Cape Coast, Kolkata, Cape Town, Barranquilla and Kuala Lumpur.
None of this would be possible without the votes of City fans and we would like to thank everyone who has participated for their support over the past four years.