Scotland captain Andy Robertson launches charity to help children

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image copyrightReuters
image captionAndy Robertson has enjoyed a hugely successful career with Liverpool and Scotland but now wants to help others through his own charity

Scotland captain Andy Robertson has launched his own charity to give children a chance at a brighter future.

AR26 will provide access to free football training, further education, job opportunities and also support young people with critical illnesses.

The Liverpool defender and his partner, Rachel, brought a long held idea to life during the national lockdown.

He said: "My own experiences have taught me that none of us can achieve anything on our own."

The Champions League winner told BBC Scotland that fatherhood has focused his mind and he had also become more confident about using his profile to make a difference.

Robertson, 26, acknowledged he benefited from a stable and loving upbringing and his two children are in a very fortunate position.

But he now wants to create opportunities for those who face challenges from an early age.

He said: "The pandemic gave us a lot of time, time I don't normally have outwith football, to sit down and think 'Ok. What else can we do to help people?'"

'Amazing feeling'

The charity will feature a football academy which will provide complimentary sessions to help children lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

Away from sport it will give young people access to further education, training and job opportunities.

Its third and final pilot project was inspired by the reaction Robertson and his Liverpool team-mates receive when they visit sick children in hospital.

He recalled one young boy who was given a "new lease of life" after some Anfield stars surprised him.

Robertson said: "I believe that if you can create more stories like that it will be an amazing feeling for all of us."

For that reason AR26 will aim to deliver "once-in-a-lifetime experiences" for sick children and their families.

The former Dundee United and Hull City player said he first came up with the idea of launching his own charity with his partner two years ago.

Robertson continued: "I am extremely proud to be Scottish because of the values our country is built on.

"At our best, we are about solidarity, fighting for what's right and looking after each other."

'Inspiration'

The left-back also hailed the recent work of Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, who has won widespread acclaim for his campaign to provide free school meals for children in England.

Robertson said: "What he is doing is an inspiration to everyone in the UK and the world.

"He is a credit to his club and to football and he is a credit to all of us."

In the build-up to the festive season Robertson's initiative will aim to help 26 Scottish charities, including the Night Before Christmas and East Renfrewshire School Bank.

Amanda Nisanci, head of partnership at AR26, said: "We fully appreciate that the charity launches at a time when positive interventions are needed now more than ever for young people across Scotland and are very much looking forward to making an impact from the outset with our forthcoming Christmas campaign."

The launch of Robertson's charity caps a remarkable year which saw Liverpool win the Premier League for the first time in 30 years and Scotland dramatically qualify for the country's first major tournament since 1998.

Robertson joked his phone "blew up" with messages after the penalty shoot out triumph over Serbia in Belgrade.

He added: "It was a great lift for the nation."

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