İlkay Gundogan makes dreams come true
Manchester City star and Ambassador of Community Integrated Care, Ilkay Gundogan, made dreams come true for 30 people from our charity, when he invited them to be his Guests of Honour at Saturday’s fixture against Crystal Palace.
As a proud Ambassador for our charity, Ilkay invited some of his biggest fans from Community Integrated Care to enjoy the game at the Etihad Stadium to mark his 31st birthday.
Bringing together people who have learning disabilities, autism and complex care needs, this experience provided a much-needed boost for colleagues and people that we support, after two challenging years of the pandemic.
After the game was finished, the guests were invited to relax in the Director’s Lounge, VIP area. They were stunned when İlkay stopped by for a surprise meet and greet.
The midfielder spent quality time with every guest, finding out how they are after the challenges of the pandemic and happily chatting about their love of football and Manchester City. Taking time to sign autographs and take photographs, the group were enthralled at meeting their hero.
Life-long City fan, James, from Stockport, summed it up for the group when he said, “This has been the best day! I can’t believe Ilkay did all of this for us.”
To celebrate Ilkay’s birthday and thank him for his dedicated support, we gifted him a special artwork that features stunning photographs of people supported at Community Integrated Care and images of Ilkay’s past visits to our services. It included a special inscription: “Thank you, Ilkay, for changing lives with Community Integrated Care”.
This experience is just one of many ways that Ilkay has made a difference to the people we support. During lockdown, he made socially distanced visits to several of our services in Manchester, and held special virtual meet and greets. These experiences brought joy and comfort to many people, during what was the most difficult moments of their lives.
İlkay Gündoğan said:
“I was delighted to celebrate my birthday again with Community Integrated Care. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the charity and to see the great work that it delivers in Manchester. This was particularly special to me, because for the first time that we’ve been able to spend time together, up close. To see how excited they were to watch Manchester City was a joy.
Manchester is has become a second home to me, so it is important that I give back and support the local community. This was a special moment for me, and one I will not forget.”
John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, said:
“The importance of the support that Ilkay gives to our charity cannot be understated. During the worst of the pandemic, he was incredibly committed to helping to make a difference to the people we support and our colleagues. These experiences lifted many people during some very tough days.
For him to share his birthday with the people we support, and invite them to enjoy such a special experience, speaks volumes about his character and passion for making a difference. We could not wish for a better Ambassador. Our thanks also go to the brilliant team at Manchester City, who really pulled out all of the stops to make this an unforgettable day.”
Watch our video capturing this incredible experience for the people we support here.