Marcus Rashford will receive a special award as part of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony next month for his efforts to raise awareness of child food poverty in the UK.
The 23-year-old’s campaign has earned widespread admiration, with his work to ensure that free meals are provided to underprivileged children, improving the lives of thousands during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rashford was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors for services to vulnerable children last month, after receiving an honorary degree from the University of Manchester in July.
The Manchester United and England forwards will soon be gaining more recognition after the BBC Sports Personality of the Year jury unanimously agreed that “Marcus’ performance off the field should be commended this year”.
The broadcaster said Rashford will be honored with a “Panel Special Award” at this year’s event on December 20 in recognition of his extraordinary impact outside the sport.
Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, said: “Marcus’s attempt to give a voice to those in a situation that he also knows has been greatly admired and the panel wanted to ensure that he was recognized for it.
“In a year that has been challenging for everyone, but especially vulnerable families, he has done his best to transcend his sport and make a real difference. This award pays tribute to a remarkable young man. “
Rashford will also be featured in a BBC One documentary that focuses on his drive to raise awareness of the impact of child poverty, with the 60-minute program airing December 21.
Clare Sillery, principal principal for documentaries, said: “Everyone will be familiar with the Marcus Rashford we see on the field, but this documentary will provide a deeper insight into the man himself.
“Through our access, we hope viewers will see how passionate and determined he is in tackling child food poverty in Britain.”
Tweeting about the documentary, Rashford said, “This isn’t about me, it’s about providing a platform where voices can be heard.
“We have been ignoring the problem for too long, now is the time for a change.”
Rashford successfully lobbied the government to change the policy of free school meals in England during the first shutdown, so that children in need would have meals all summer long.
By campaigning further, the government turned back and announced that free meals would be provided to underprivileged children during the Christmas holidays.
Rashford has formed a Child Food Poverty Task Force, working with some of the country’s largest supermarkets and food brands, and recently founded a book club so that all children can experience the escapism of reading.
On the pitch, the forward scored on Tuesday in Manchester United’s 4-1 Champions League win against Istanbul Basaksehir to bring his total to eight goals in 14 club games across all competitions.