Rochdale shoppers are getting the chance to put their football skills to the test when the centre hosts a FIFA19 console competition in partnership with Rochdale BID, to help raise money for Rochdale Connections Trust, a leading independent provider of family support services.

Taking place on Friday 17 May and Saturday 18 May, two games consoles will be set up next to The Fragrance Shop from 10am until 5pm and visitors will be invited to play against friends, family members or total strangers, with the aim to score as many goals as possible to receive the most points.

Players must be sure to demonstrate a real level of concentration because the more points they collect, the more difficult the game becomes. Once the two-day event has concluded, the champion at the top of the leader board, will take home a PS4 console bundle.

Bernie Coughlin, director of SLBC, the company behind the FIFA19 mini tournament, said: “We are delighted that, thanks to the combined efforts of the Rochdale BID and Rochdale Exchange, we are able to deliver an event such as this which engages directly with Rochdale shoppers. Not only is it exciting to take part but it’s raising money for a very worthwhile local cause.

“Everyone loves football and it’s surprising how competitive people can get when pitched up against their friends and family – it’s great to see and with such a fantastic prize up for grabs I’m sure we’ll be on a winning streak when it comes to visitors having a go.”

A minimum donation of £1 donation is required to take part in the tournament. All the proceeds will be going to Rochdale Connections Trust, a charity which supports many families across the Borough of Rochdale, working closely with young people across the diverse local communities to ensure that social, health and wellbeing needs are being met.

Paul Ambrose, BID Manager, said: “eSports, or competitive console and computer gaming, is rapidly becoming mainstream, with millions of players worldwide and is even being considered as a sport for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Bringing this to the centre will be an enjoyable way of diversifying the experience within the town and engaging with the younger community in Rochdale.”

“The Rochdale BID vision is to create a safe, vibrant and attractive town centre that has a sense of identity, is family orientated and welcoming to all. Events like this show how through partnership working we can offer something different and broaden the appeal of the town centre.”

Lorenzo O’Reilly, Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre manager, said: “As a hub of the community, we are keen to offer more to our customers and this is not only a fantastic way to bring people together, but it is also fundraising for a Rochdale charity that is doing so much good across the town.

“I’m sure it will be a great success and we look forward to seeing who comes out on top in the final results.”