- McDonald’s has announced its first ever wave of winter Fun Football sessions, with free football coaching for 5–11-year-olds across 184 sites in the UK

- McDonald’s Fun Football programme is the largest grassroots participation programme in the UK providing more than one million children across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales access to free football over the next four years

- Research highlights the financial challenges facing families this winter, with over a quarter (27%) of parents* stating they will have to prioritise one child’s activities over another

- England World Cup star, John Stones, joined McDonald’s at the Manchester leg of a national pop-up Fun Football tour to help drive signups for the winter wave which kicks off on 12th November

Tuesday 8th November, London – Today, McDonald’s has launched signups for thousands of free Fun Football coaching sessions for 5–11-year-olds this winter. Starting from 12th Nov, sessions at 184 sites across the UK will give children the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful game for free.

The first ever Fun Football winter wave comes as families continue to feel the pinch in the lead up to Christmas. New research from McDonald’s shows that 61% of parents are worried about the expense of keeping their child entertained this winter – that figure rising to 79% in London, 75% in South West England and 73% in Northern Ireland.

The research also highlights the measures parents are taking to reduce expenses associated with entertaining the kids. Actively looking for more free family activities topped the list (43%), with 42% also confirming that spending on gifts would be reduced this year. Remarkably, over a quarter (27%) of parents say they will even have to prioritise one child’s activities over another, to save money.

To help drive sign-ups ahead of the winter wave of free Fun Football, England World Cup hopeful, John Stones, joined McDonald’s for the Manchester-leg of a national Fun Football pop-up tour. Focussing on major high streets and shopping centres, the pop-up tour aims to raise awareness of Fun Football among the 58% of parents whose children do not currently participate in sport activities or clubs, specifically the third (33%) of parents who say that cost is the main barrier stopping them from signing their child up.

McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador, John Stones, said: “It’s important kids everywhere have easy access to football. That’s why free programmes like McDonald’s Fun Football are so important. Football should be about having fun and that’s exactly what these sessions are all about. I was delighted to be invited along and I’ve been really impressed – the coaches are amazing and it’s great to see so many smiling faces playing the game that I love. There are thousands of spaces available over the coming weeks so people should sign up and get involved.”

McDonald’s has partnered with BBC’s Children in Need to ensure the Fun Football programme targets the families and communities most likely to miss out from free sports provision. With Children in Need’s support, McDonald’s will ensure the programme is available for free in areas of greatest deprivation, in communities without access to football coaching and facilities, and will specifically target sessions to support children with additional and complex needs.

McDonald’s is the longest-standing supporter of grassroots football in the UK and has worked with the Home Nation Football Associations for 20 years. Now in its 20th year, McDonald’s has made its biggest ever commitment to grassroots football, doubling the size of Fun Football in collaboration with the Irish FA, Scottish FA, and Football Association of Wales.

McDonald’s Fun Football sessions will take place across the entire UK with the next wave starting on 12th November. To find a Fun Football session local to you visit and for further information on McDonald’s involvement in grassroots football follow @FunFootballUK on Twitter and Instagram.

– ENDS –

Notes to editors:

*1,000 UK parents of 2–16-year-olds – research conducted by OnePoll.

For more information contact:

McDonald’s Press Office

0203 892 1000 /

The McDonald’s Sport Press Office

020 7025 6697 /

About McDonald’s Fun Football

McDonald’s launched its original Fun Football programme in 2018 with the goal to encourage kids aged 5 to 11 to take their first steps into football. Between 2018 and 2022 McDonald’s delivered over five million hours of Fun Football across the UK. The sessions are designed and delivered by FA accredited coaches – the curriculum includes introductory activities perfect for children who are new to football, helping them develop their all-round skills in a safe, fun and pressure-free environment.

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