This week, actor David Harewood met members of parliament at a Soccer Aid for UNICEF event at the Houses of Parliament to support the Great Big Kickabout.

MPs attended the afternoon reception, which was hosted by Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon Jon Bercow, in the State Rooms. David Harewood told MPs about his recent trip to Sierra Leone, where he saw first-hand how Unicef programmes are improving child health, early childhood development and education in vulnerable communities.

David Harewood said: "I recently travelled to Sierra Leone with Unicef saw with my own eyes some of the incredible work done to help children around the world.

“I visited a baby care unit where there were babies no bigger than my hand, fighting for breath and fighting for life. The lifesaving work doctors and staff were doing there reminded me of why I play for Soccer Aid for Unicef. They say football is a beautiful game and I saw first-hand what it can do to help vulnerable children.

“I’m asking everyone to support Soccer Aid for Unicef and take part in the Great Big Kickabout so every child can have a childhood full of play. I thank the UK government and the British public for their generous support.”

The film from David Harewood’s visit to Sierra Leone with Unicef will be shown on Soccer Aid for Unicef on ITV on Sunday 16th June. Every pound donated to Soccer Aid for Unicef until 23 July will be matched by the UK government, doubling the difference made to children’s lives.

Mike Penrose, Unicef UK Executive Director, said: "Funding from the UK government for Soccer Aid for Unicef 2019 will help to ensure that more than 80,000 children in Sierra Leone and Zambia have a childhood full of play.

“The Right to Play is enshrined in Article 31 of the UN Convention On the Rights of the Child and has a positive impact that lasts a lifetime. However, we know that around the world, disease, conflict, hunger and poverty are disrupting childhoods.

“This year Soccer Aid for Unicef is bringing the nation together to help children everywhere have the childhood they are entitled to. We hope you’ll join the team.”

International Development Minister Baroness Sugg said: "Since 2012, our partnership with Soccer Aid for Unicef has saved lives across the world’s poorest countries by reducing child mortality and helping transform maternal and new born care for more than 4.5 million people.

“By teaming up again this year, we will be helping even more children to play, live healthy lives and reach their full potential.
“UK aid will double every pound the British public donates to Soccer Aid for Unicef up to £3 million, meaning their generosity will go twice as far.”

As well as watching Soccer Aid for Unicef on ITV on Sunday 16th June, you can take part in your Great Big Kickabout anywhere – the back garden, the office, or your local Goals club – who will be opening their pitches for the weekend of 14-16 June. As part of The Walt Disney Company’s wider healthy living commitment to encourage kids and families to get active and be healthy, for every Great Big Kickabout booking at Goals centres, Disney will donate £10 to Soccer Aid for Unicef, to help provide safe spaces for active play, helping children to grow up happy and healthy. Goals sessions will take place during Soccer Aid for Unicef weekend, and the public can book their slots from 8th May to 16th June 2019.

During Soccer Aid for Unicef weekend, Goals centres will also be equipped with Disney∙Pixar Toy Story 4 photo opportunities for teams, in celebration of the upcoming theatrical release this summer. Participants will also have the chance to win a series of prize bundles.

With a suggested donation of just £5 to play, every header, volley, and near miss counts. The money raised will help make sure that children around the world are happy, healthy, and able to play. Better still, every £1 donated to Soccer Aid for Unicef until 23 July 2019 will be matched by the UK government, doubling the difference you make to children’s lives.

This year’s Soccer Aid for Unicef match returns to London for the first time in over a decade, taking place at the iconic Stamford Bridge Stadium. The game will see two teams of celebrities and ex-professionals go head-to-head on Sunday 16th June live on ITV and STV.

David Harewood will play for the England squad alongside legends such as Michael Owen, Joe Cole, and – for the first time ever – female players Katie Chapman and Rachel Yankey, and celebrities Sir Mo Farah, Mark Wright, and Danny Jones, all under the watchful eye of co-managers Susanna Reid and Sam Allardyce. He will play against the Soccer Aid World XI, with players so far announced including legends Didier Drogba, Eric Cantona, and Robert Pires, and stars Usain Bolt, Niall Horan, and Martin Compston, taking their orders from Harry Redknapp and Piers Morgan.

Soccer Aid for Unicef is defending play for every child. The monies raised will go towards Unicef’s vital work protecting children in danger around the world. £30 million has already been raised by Soccer Aid for Unicef since its inception in 2006.

For more information or to find out how you can get involved in the Soccer Aid Great Big Kickabout visit: socceraid.org.uk/kickabout

Tickets for Soccer Aid for Unicef 2019 – on Sunday 16th June, at Stamford Bridge – are available now at www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets/ or by calling 020 7386 2019. Doors open from 4.30pm.

Soccer Aid for Unicef will be broadcast live on ITV and STV, and is produced by Initial.

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