Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was a special guest at Wilmslow High School last week as pupils took part in an award-winning education programme that uses rugby to teach young people about better money management.

The Tatton MP visited a group of 40 school children to see them take part in MBNA Number Cruncherz – a programme created by Premiership Rugby side Sale Sharks and Chester-based financial services company MBNA to help improve financial literacy amongst 11- and 12-year-olds.

The Chancellor joined a series of workshops as the Year 7 children tackled topics including budgeting, needs and wants, and income and expenditure, delivered by Sale Sharks’ community coaches and brought to life through rugby-based scenarios.

Speaking after the event, Mr Osborne said: “Ensuring young people have an understanding of money is incredibly important, so I was delighted to be able to join the children at Wilmslow High School and see MBNA Number Cruncherz in action. It’s fantastic to see organisations like Sale Sharks and MBNA working side by side, using rugby to create an education programme that’s engaging and helps young people understand more about financial choices and decision-making.”

Managing household budgets, buying rugby match-day tickets and paying player wages are among the activities included in the MBNA Number Cruncherz programme. Children are also taught about some of the core values of rugby and take part in a non-contact game of Touch Rugby to learn how to play the game for themselves.

“The feedback we’ve had from teachers and children about MBNA Number Cruncherz has been overwhelmingly positive, and we were thrilled the Chancellor could join us in Wilmslow to see for himself the positive impact the programme has on the pupils we support”, said Jonny Acheson, who manages the Sale Sharks Community Trust.

“We run a wide range of community programmes that deliver important educational messages and crucial life skills using the power of rugby. Sport has a way of making topics engaging and memorable, and MBNA Number Cruncherz is a wonderful example of how rugby can help young people develop a greater understanding of money management.”

Chair of the MBNA Foundation and a Director of MBNA Ltd Sean Humphreys added: “It was a pleasure to have Mr Osborne join us and the children in Wilmslow to see MBNA Number Cruncherz delivered first-hand.

“We’ve worked closely with Sale Sharks to create and deliver an award-winning programme that’s already improved the financial literacy skills of thousands of young people across the region. Encouraging young people to develop important money management skills through rugby is a unique approach to financial education, and we hope it provides children with the foundation to manage their money well now and in the future.”

Since its launch in 2014, more than 8,300 children from over 120 schools across the North West of England and North Wales have taken part in the free MBNA Number Cruncherz programme.

In February, MBNA Number Cruncherz was named “Best CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Programme” at the 2016 Card & Payments Awards. The programme also received international acclaim in 2015 with a silver award at the International CSR Awards.

For more information about MBNA Number Cruncherz or the range of community programmes provided by Sale Sharks Community Trust, visit www.salesharks.com/community