Manchester United open Old Trafford for local community during winter and cost of living crisis
Video report by ITV Granada Reports journalist, Emma Sweeney.
Manchester United is opening Old Trafford during December to help the most vulnerable in the local community.
The 'United by Your Side' campaign will see the Red Cafe provide those in need with a space to stay warm, while having a chat, a hot drink and snacks, as temperatures falls and heating bills rise.
The area will be available to everyone, free of charge, every Monday and Wednesday, for the next three weeks, starting 6 December from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.
People can arrive and register via the North Stand reception and will be guided to the Red Cafe.
In addition to the warm space at the Red Cafe, the club are also introducing ‘talking benches’ on the forecourt at Old Trafford, which will be signposted as a welcoming place for people who may feel lonely or worried to sit and talk to others.
Collette Roche, United’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Whether Christmas is part of people’s life or not, the festive period can be a difficult time for many.
"It’s a time of year that puts extra pressure on people and can affect mental health and wellbeing in lots of different ways.
“Through our United by Your Side campaign, we want people who are struggling to know that they are not alone, particularly in our local community.
"We want to make Old Trafford a second home by providing winter accessories, company, warmth and food for those who need it."
The club is also working with Trafford Council and local charities to deliver the initiatives and communicate them to people who may benefit most.
Eleanor Roaf, Director of Public Health, Trafford Council, said: “This year with the increase in cost of heating and food, many people are likely to find winter and the festive period challenging.
"I’m delighted that Manchester United are opening their Red Cafe and providing this space with hot snacks and drinks. This helps to how football is at the heart of our borough.”
Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 16.
Due to United's EFL Cup fixture against Burnley on Wednesday 21 December, the club will be opening the Red Cafe on Thursday 22 December instead.
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