Marcus Rashford "really overwhelmed" as BT’s Hope United creates Wall of Hope to feature mural messages

BT’s Hope United, working with Withington Walls, has launched a digital Wall of Hope to showcase the messages of support left on the Marcus Rashford mural.

Published: 26 July 2021 - 12.16pm

BT’s Hope United campaign has launched a collaboration with Withington Walls to keep the Marcus Rashford tribute messages alive on a newly commissioned Wall of Hope.

The virtual wall houses all the moving messages of hope that were left on the Marcus Rashford mural in Withington following England's Euro 2020 final defeat and allow everyone to read the messages of support.

A physical ‘Hope Beats Hate’ mural has also been created moments away from the Rashford artwork on the walls of Kingsway Football Club.

Created and designed by local artists Oskar with a K and Katie Jones and commissioned by Withington Walls, who were behind the original Rashford piece, the mural has transformed the walls of Kingsway Football Club and reinforces Hope United’s stance of standing together against hate.

Following the announcement that the messages on the Rashford mural would begin to be removed by Manchester City Council to protect them from the weather and safeguard them for future generations, the artwork includes a QR code for visitors to scan giving access to the Wall of Hope and messages of support.

The ‘Hope Beats Hate’ mural stands proudly on the walls of Kingsway Football Club, whilst the virtual Wall of Hope is available for everyone to view at www.bt.com/wallofhope.

“At one of my lowest points, the outpouring of support around this mural really lifted me and I’m truly grateful for that”
- Marcus Rashford

The nationwide response to the defacing of the mural in Withington, which is owned by the community, has been a momentous display of hope.

The Wall of Hope allows these messages to live on, be viewed by all and serve as a reminder that hope can beat hate. 

“At one of my lowest points, the outpouring of support around this mural really lifted me and I’m truly grateful for that," said Rashford. 

"It reinforced my belief in the strength of community and the endless pictures being shared of visits left me feeling really overwhelmed.

"I wanted to capture that feeling and bank it for more people to experience and am grateful to BT for enabling me to do that.

"These messages are not just mine. They belong to everyone. And I hope they can bring joy to many for months to come.”

As part of the initiative, Kingsway FC has joined BT’s Connected Club scheme, with the club receiving the very best connectivity for free and assistance in delivering digital, coaching and social media workshops in the future.

The Hope United campaign will also support the club in renovating their clubhouse, covering roof repairs, security, a new kitchen, decorating corridors and changing room facilities - improvements that the whole community can benefit from.

BT has now connected over 70 clubs across the Home Nations with a target of 200 by 2024.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division, said: “The Marcus Rashford mural has become an amazing, colourful wall of tributes and a symbol of hope to so many people.

"We felt it was important to keep the positive messages alive and create a digital platform for everyone across the country to be able to share the messages of hope.

"Hope United’s objective is to tackle online hate and by supporting this initiative we are aiming to amplify these amazing messages of hope and stand against hate.”

A physical ‘Hope Beats Hate’ mural has been created moments away from the Rashford artwork on the walls of Kingsway Football Club

Building on its partnerships with all four Home Nations, BT launched its Hope United campaign ahead of Euro 2020 with the aim of raising awareness of, and stamping out, online hate.

Backed by players from across the Home Nations, including Rashford, Gareth Bale, Jordan Henderson, Andrew Robertson, Lucy Bronze and many more, the initiative offers the nation Tech Tips, equipping them with the digital skills needed to tackle online hate and become good digital citizens.

Ed Wellard, founder of Withington Walls, said: “The response to the vandalism of the Rashford mural has been incredible.

"What started with one small act of positivity, with those first hearts and messages of love and respect, inspired thousands more messages on the wall and online. Love drowned out the hate, making us all feel more hopeful. 

"This project is rooted in the community and it has been great to work with Hope United to make a positive impact here in south Manchester, and keep spreading the love.”  

Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: "This is a brilliant idea that perfectly complements the work we're doing with galleries, museums and archives partners across the city to collect and preserve every single one of the thousands of messages left so they can be used for education and public display.

"Over the course of the last couple of weeks the messages just haven't stopped coming since the very first one went up, and we'll continue to collect any new ones and add them to the archive to make sure this moment of solidarity and the learning from it is shared and remembered for future generations."