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Luke Shaw, renowned Manchester United left back and England international, has congratulated Ainara, aged 13, from St Cecilia’s College in Derry~Londonderry on her winning entry in the Ulster University and Manchester United Foundation competition. The two organisations have worked in partnership together since 2018, but this is the first competition of its kind.

With a full-time Foundation officer based at the university’s Magee campus, the partnership focusses on delivering positive outcomes by providing experiences and opportunities for young people across the Foyle Learning Community.

Ainara’s prize included two tickets plus travel to watch a Manchester United game - once normal spectator matches are able to resume. Runners-up will receive Manchester United goody bags.

In order to win this prize Ainara and other post primary students from the Foyle Learning Community were challenged to research, design and map financing for a product, which could be sold in the Manchester United Megastore. Ainara came up with the clever concept of a mini, portable projector, which could be plugged into a phone, providing the user with the ability to watch a football match anywhere from the back garden to the local park. The concept was especially apt given that friends can’t currently meet indoors to watch the game together.

The students’ ideas were presented to a panel of judges who picked Ainara’s innovative product design as the winner.

On winning the competition, Ainara said:

“I cannot wait to see all the players; I have never been to a proper football match before so I am really looking forward to it. I love being part of Manchester United Foundation and joining in with all the projects.”

Malachy O’Neill, Ulster University Provost, Magee Campus, said:

“Warmest congratulations to Ainara on winning this inaugural competition as part of Ulster University’s partnership with the Manchester United Foundation. We’re thrilled to have the Foundation hub now up and running at our Magee campus and look forward to creating many more exciting opportunities for the pupils in our partner schools across the city and beyond.”

Matthew Lewsley, the Foundation’s school partnership officer at Ulster University, said:

“Congratulations Ainara on winning the first Ulster University / Foundation competition. We are delighted to be working within Schools Outreach at Ulster University to deliver projects and engage with young people across the Foyle Learning Community in Derry~Londonderry. We are really looking forward to providing further opportunities in order to enrich our school’s outreach and development across Northern Ireland.”

John Shiels, Manchester United Foundation CEO, said:

“Congratulations Ainara on winning our first ever Ulster University/Foundation competition. I really look forward to welcoming you to Manchester and to Old Trafford. With the innovation of your winning product, you have set really high standards. It is the aspiration of this partnership to engage and inspire many others to follow you by getting them to participate in the many programmes and projects we intend to offer in the future”.