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MANCH­ESTER City’s ‘Mex­ico Ci­tyzens Giv­ing’ pro­ject re­ceived a welcome boost on In­ter­na­tional Youth Day.

More than 120 com­mu­nity volunteers joined forces to ren­o­vate the De­portive El Coy­olit pitch – used by the Fut­bol Mat­ters pro­ject in Mex­ico City - which re­ceived the high­est num­ber of votes in the lat­est in­stal­ment of the Ci­tyzens Giv­ing cam­paign.

Based in Gus­tavo Madero, the pitch now sports a fresh coat of paint, so­lar en­ergy light­ing and cov­ered stands for spec­ta­tors.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has one of the high­est rates of crime and vi­o­lence in the area and ear­lier this year City fans voted to make a dif­fer­ence in this com­mu­nity, while Gabriel Je­sus has also shared his support.

Since then, Young Lead­ers have been run­ning a pro­ject called Fut­bol Mat­ters that aims to use the power of foot­ball to tackle this is­sue and leave a last­ing legacy that will shape the next gen­er­a­tion.

The re­gen­er­a­tion of the pitch was de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with love. fút­bol and the Mex­ico City-based or­ga­ni­za­tion Jóvenes Con­struc­tores de la Co­mu­nidad (JCC).

Led by young peo­ple from the com­mu­nity, the pro­ject pro­vided them with valu­able skills for their own em­ploy­a­bil­ity as well as cre­at­ing a safe space for other young peo­ple to play foot­ball, con­nect and learn.

Lead­ers were also given an ex­tra con­fi­dence boost and fur­ther de­vel­oped their lead­er­ship skills with Manch­ester City com­mu­nity coaches.

Work­ing with the young lead­ers prior to the ren­o­va­tion, they helped to equip them with the lead­er­ship, teamwork and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills needed to de­liver their life chang­ing foot­ball pro­ject on the new pitch.

Over the com­ing years, these young lead­ers will work with over 400 lo­cal chil­dren from the com­mu­nity on the newly ren­o­vated pitch.

Ma­noel Silva, direc­tor of op­er­a­tions at Love. Fút­bol said: “As with all our projects, this achieve­ment is the re­sult of a col­lec­tive ef­fort by a com­mu­nity of foot­ball fans and peo­ple who be­lieve in the pos­i­tive im­pact sports can have in the lives of young peo­ple.

“The support re­ceived by Manch­ester City and its com­mu­nity of fans has been fan­tas­tic and we’re ex­cited to be us­ing the power of foot­ball to make a dif­fer­ence.”

Mem­bers of the com­mu­nity also ex­pressed their hap­pi­ness at the col­lec­tive ef­fort to pro­vide a safe space for the prac­tice of sport and other ac­tiv­i­ties.

Long­time El Coyol res­i­dent, 56-year-old Alma Pa­tri­cia Vazquez, added: “My heart is filled with joy to see the com­mu­nity com­ing to­gether once more to res­cue a space that is for ev­ery­one: chil­dren, young and old.”

The pitch up­grade at the Mex­ico City com­mu­nity pro­ject

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