By Karrie Gillett
RANGERS have become the first football club in Scotland to join forces with an international children’s charity.
And club captain Barry Ferguson will be at the front of the new relationship by visiting the country to see first-hand the work being done.
And the three-year project will see more than £300,000 raised through the Rangers Charity Foundation – the largest single good cause initiative ever undertaken by the football club.
Martin Bain, Rangers chief executive, said the partnership was a historical day for the club and one which fans should be proud of.
He said: “To sign an agreement with one of the world’s leading charities is monumental.
“When we started the charity foundation in 2002 we wanted to contribute regionally, nationally and worldwide and UNICEF seemed to be a perfect fit.
“We believe that within our own social responsibility in Scotland and what we actually do here, we share some of UNICEF’s values such as education and the welfare of children and that can be translated on to a worldwide scale.”
And Mr Bain praised club captain Barry Ferguson for his leadership role with the charity.
He said: “Barry is very, very active as the captain of this football club in charitable aspects and I think this has probably appealed to him because he has a family himself.
“He will be the first Rangers player to go to India and I am sure he will come back and show the other players that they should play their part too.
“While we have the iconic aspect with the players, the supporters play a huge role as they generate the funds.
“The fans created this, at the end of the day, without their support the foundation wouldn’t exist so I am sure that every Rangers fan will be delighted with this agreement we have signed today.”
The cash raised through the partnership will go to running a public campaign to increase school admissions in the poorest areas of India and raise funds for training new teachers.
Anne Shinkwin, UNICEF UK director of corporate fundraising, said the charity was delighted to attract support from another internationally recognised football team.
She said: “This project will specifically help kids in India. Five million children between the ages of six and 11 there have no access to education whatsoever which is equivalent to the population of Scotland.
“UNICEF does not receive any funding from the UN and partnerships like this one with Rangers are vital.”
Rangers chairman Sir David Murray called the partnership a ‘landmark’ for the club in joining some of the world’s biggest football teams in donating to charity.
He said: “Rangers is a club known across the globe and it is great to see out charitable activities expanding on a international scale, while we increase our work at a more local level in Scotland.
“This agreement adds a different dimension to our charitable work.”
Last year, the club’s charity foundation broke through the £1million barrier in terms of cash and in-kind donations made to good causes and the aim now is also to donate £100,000 every year to local projects.