AN 11-year-old footballer has spearheaded a campaign by his football team to help a local food bank this Christmas.

Lucas Valentine watched a post on social media with his father, Anthony about a reverse advent calendar, explaining that Christmas isn't just about receiving but giving too.

He became very interested in giving back to the local community and asked his dad, who is the coach of his football team, Ashton on Mersey Titans if they could do a food drive for a local food bank.

Anthony said: "I proposed the suggestion of a ‘Reverse Advent Campaign’ to my parent group, who had no reservations. During a training session, I presented the idea to the children, aged 11 and 12 years old - They were all delighted to take part and have worked effortlessly over the past six weeks collecting foods and toiletries from family and family members, we have collected a phenomenal amount of donations."

"As their coach and a parent to one of the players, it makes me immensely proud to see a fantastic bunch of local community children giving back to the local community at Christmas time."

The club collected the food at their game on Sunday on Ashton Park and will be delivered to Trafford South Foodbank on December 15.

Nicola Kenrick, Manager of Trafford South Foodbank said: "A huge Thank You from us at Trafford South Foodbank from Ashton Titans football club. Without donations such as these adults and children alike in our area would literally be going hungry.

"It's a really busy time of year and it's always overwhelming the amount of support we receive from community groups, schools and colleges. However, equally we have seen almost double the amount of people in need - all due to things that are all beyond their control and it's not their fault they find themselves in this position.

"We would be completely stuck without the work that groups such as the Titans do for us. It's really important that children remember that not all children have an equal Christmas - figures are shocking, last year we had around 1,200 vouchers go to children."

The vouchers are issued by professional bodies such as GPs and social workers - the foodbank provide a three day emergency parcel that includes a variety of things.

Nicola said: "It's really sad because these are every-day people, really hard working, trying to get by but the system is largely letting them down. They feel shamed and embarrassed about coming but they are genuinely in need.

"At the foodbank we also offer a warm friendly welcome, a hot drink and snack and a listening ear. We also offer help and advice for individuals.

"Currently at Trafford South we have a pressing issue that our warehouse for food storage which is currently based at Timperley Methodist Church, will no longer be available. The church has kindly given us this storage place for free but as the church has development plans for next year we will no longer be able to use this space. We are urging any local businesses that may have an adequate sized room , such as a large garage, that is unused in the Timperley or Sale Area to contact us if they may be able to help?"