Manchester United is reaching out to people in need this winter, inviting them to Old Trafford where they can receive vital support and comfort during the winter.
The stadium’s Red Cafe will be welcoming anyone struggling with the cost of living crisis this festive season as part of the football club’s United By Your Side initiative. The cafe will be opening for free from 5-8pm every Monday and Wednesday for the next three weeks starting on Monday 5 December. It will serve as a place for people to stay warm, have a hot drink and a snack, and talk to someone. There will also be “talking benches” located in the forecourt at Old Trafford, where people can sit if they are feeling lonely or worried and need a friendly face to chat to.
Anyone thinking of coming along must first register at the North Stand on arrival before being directed to the Red Cafe. Anyone aged 16 and under attending must be accompanied by an adult.
Collette Roche, Manchester 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 campaign is a collaboration with the Manchester Mind charity and Trafford Council.
Eleanor Roaf, director of public health for 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.”
Elizabeth Simpson, CEO of Manchester Mind, said “We know that many people are struggling at the moment due to the cost-of-living crisis, and that this is impacting their mental health. This can feel overwhelming and isolating.
“During these challenging times we also know that our local organisations play a key role in supporting the most vulnerable in our community, and we are proud to be a part of United by Your Side this winter.”
The cafe will not be open on Wednesday 21 December due to a Carabao Cup match against Burnley. Instead it will open on Thursday 22 December.