It’s the school holidays, the sun is out, and you’re playing football with your friends. Could it get any better? Well, only maybe if the Premier League Trophy was watching on. Which is exactly what happened to a group of schoolkids in Manchester last week.

As part of our Premier League Trophy Tour, Coca-Cola teamed up with award-winning national sports charity StreetGames to give the young footballers in attendance a rare close look at English football’s biggest prize. To learn more about the great work StreetGames is doing, and to see the trophy in all its glory, we went up to Manchester to catch the action…

“We’re about giving young people a chance to enjoy sport, despite the inequalities they face from the postcode they live in,” says Josh Saydraouten, StreetGames Programmes Manager. “For us it’s about giving them experiences like this, taking them to places they wouldn’t normally get to go to. It’s invaluable.”

StreetGames’ mission is to make sport, and its many benefits, accessible to all young people across the UK. Coca-Cola and StreetGames have enjoyed what’s now a ten-year partnership, which has seen the establishment of the StreetGames Training Academy, engagement with over 60,000 young people at UK-based festivals, activations with the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup, and much more.

The event brought together Manchester Young Champs and Abraham Moss Warriors.

The tournament in Manchester was part of StreetGames’ central programme, Doorstep Sport, which offers fun and informal sports sessions through a network of locally trusted organisations. The Trophy Tour event saw the first-time meeting of two of those organisations – Manchester Young Champs and Abraham Moss Warriors – in a head-to-head football match.

Watching on was Claire Wilson, who works with StreetGames to help facilitate relationships such as these. “My role is working within the communities and providing some of the glue that brings people together in partnership,” she explains. “Mike Edwards, founder of Manchester Young Champs, is one of our longstanding locally trusted partners. He delivers a lot of football in the Manchester area, and does a lot of work with Manchester City Football Club.

“A lot of the young people on his programme volunteer at the club on matchdays and get their kit and various other things for free as a thank you. I work to help Mike pull all of that together and ensure that he’s being sustainable so that he can develop things further.”

Lifelong Manchester City fan Mike has been working with StreetGames for over ten years, running many of the charity’s Doorstep Sport programmes. Beyond just football, over the years Mike has been involved in youth projects covering arts and crafts, cookery and other sports games. Despite the variety, all the activities are designed to support those young people and nurture them to develop different skills that can take them in a positive direction.

The young players had a chance to get closer to the trophy than most ever will.

“Mike had a mental health project with young people and their families in an area of deprivation,” says Claire. “They went from being really angry and not engaging in things, to learning to cook and sitting down for meals with their families.”

Whether its cookery, sport, art or music, StreetGames uses these platforms as tools to engage and support children and young people in poverty. You can probably guess that the Premier League Trophy proved useful in helping achieve that.

“I think it gives them a great sense of purpose,” says Manchester Young Champs Founder Mike, when asked about the impact of the trophy’s presence. “These kids have never been close to the trophy before. It being here puts them somewhere on the periphery of the glory and the glitz and glamour of top-class football. They live and breathe football. It will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

We’re sure they’re now even hungrier to lift it for real one day.

Want to know more about ‘Where Everyone Plays’, our exciting new partnership with the Premier League? Check out the hub page for all the updates in one place.