England midfielder and former Leeds United player, James Milner has today been announced as the first Chancellor of Leeds Children’s University™, based at Leeds Trinity University.
Launched in November 2014 and based at Leeds Trinity University, Leeds Children’s University™ aims to promote social mobility by providing high quality, exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside normal school hours to children aged seven to 14.
In just six months, Leeds Children’s University™ has had a significant impact on the lives of children in Leeds, working with over 400 pupils across seven partner schools.
Leeds Children’s University™ is part of the nationwide Children’s University Trust, of which more than 100,000 children are members. Given the organisations’ shared values, becoming the base of Leeds Children’s University™ was an easy decision for Leeds Trinity University.
At the heart of both organisations is an ambition to raise aspirations, boost achievement and foster a love of learning, so that young people can make the most of their abilities and interests, regardless of the background into which they were born.
During his visit to Leeds Trinity University, James met with pupils who are all taking part in the initiative from; Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School; St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School; Holy Family Catholic Primary School; St Philip’s Catholic Primary and Nursery School and Richmond Hill Primary School.
He was joined by coaches from West Riding Football Association, supplied by Nike, and hosted a footballing master class for the children, sharing his top tricks for the game, while also taking part in a penalty shoot-out competition with the pupils.
The activities that the students took part in during James’ workshop all counted towards their Leeds Children’s University™ passports, which were stamped by James, using a bespoke stamp specifically created for the day, at the end of his training session.
The children then conducted a post-match style interview with James asking him questions about his career, including how to succeed in sport in general and what his hints and tips are for securing a career as an athlete.
Speaking about his appointment, James said: “I’m really pleased to be appointed as the Chancellor of the Leeds Children’s University™ and am excited about being involved with the initiative.
“Leeds Children’s University™ is all about motivating and inspiring children across Leeds to have fun while learning, as well as encouraging their involvement in extra-curricular activities.
“I fully appreciate the importance of being engaged with sport and out-of-hours learning from a young age – my education in Leeds is what helped me on the path to where I am today, so I’m grateful to have been given an opportunity to give something back. I hope to inspire Leeds Children’s University™ pupils and open their eyes to new ways of learning.
“It’s something that I feel very passionate about and I’m looking forward to working with the initiative, as well as Leeds Trinity University, to make the Leeds Children’s University™ a huge success.”
Lynn Upton, CEO of the national Children’s University Trust, said: “Leeds Trinity University has taken Children’s University to its heart.
” In just a few months since the formal launch in November 2014, it has reached out to the local community for inspiration and brought together an exciting range of activities for children to choose to add to their Learning Passport.
“The children in the schools now involved can feel very much part of a wider university family – one which takes their interests and ambitions seriously – and sees no limits to what they could achieve in the future. We wish a very warm welcome to your new Chancellor and here’s to the next leg of the journey.”
The announcement of James’ appointment was officially made by Leeds Trinity University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Margaret A House.
She said: “It’s great to have James on board with this initiative as he is a high profile and inspirational figure who will motivate Leeds Children’s University™ members.
“Being positioned at the heart of the local community makes Leeds Trinity University the ideal home for Leeds Children’s University™.
“More than 30 staff and students are already involved in volunteering as part of the scheme in a bid to inspire and encourage local primary school pupils to get involved with extra-curricular activities.
“We look forward to working with James over the coming months to grow the Children’s University here in Leeds, with a view to giving more pupils across the city the opportunity to take part in this rewarding scheme.”
Leeds Trinity University’s Chancellor, sports presenter and journalist, Gabby Logan, said: “I’d like to welcome James to his new role of Chancellor of Leeds Children’s University™.
“Having been Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University since 2013, I’ve seen at first-hand how committed the University is to raising aspirations so that young people can make the most of their abilities and interests, regardless of the background into which they were born.
“Having played premier league football for more than a decade, including achieving 53 England caps, James is a fantastic role model and the ideal ambassador for Leeds Children’s University™”