Big-hearted club to help those in need at Christmas
From FC United’s website:
FC United’s Broadhurst Park football ground will open on Christmas Day to help provide some Christmas comforts to the homeless in Manchester.
Toiletries and towels will be provided to allow everyone the opportunity to have a hot shower, and we’ll also be cooking up a hearty breakfast in the function room which overlooks the pitch. In addition, there will also be a range of activities available including Table Football, Table Tennis, Pool, XBOX, PS4 and various arts and crafts to bring some Christmas cheer to those attending.
A minibus, funded and driven by an FC United supporter, will pick people up from Piccadilly Gardens at 8.30am, 9.15am, 10am, 10.45am, 11.30am and 12.15pm and drop them back off in Manchester afterwards.
Andy Cheshire, FC United’s Community and Education Manager, who has been working to turn this idea into a reality explains: “The idea derived from a conversation with Lifeshare who are our partners for our annual Big Coat Day collection, where FC United supporters and wider public donate warm clothing for the homeless. Lifeshare open their offices on Christmas Day but they have limited facilities for the homeless to take a shower.
“I immediately thought that we should use our facility, as not only have we changing and shower facilities here at Broadhurst Park, we also have a large function room, kitchen facilities and access to a range of activities. I liaised with Lisa Roddy at Rough Sleepers Initiatives to get the message around the city and already the response has been very positive.”
FC United’s Kitman, Mike Norton, has sourced towels from his work, which have been kindly funded by the North Manchester Sports and Activity Forum. The Midland Hotel has also donated 20 towels and L’Oreal have donated toiletries. Two local hairdressers have offered cut people’s hair for free and we have also received offers of help from a couple of local nurses.
The club has also received confirmation of a donation of a turkey, tomatoes and mushrooms to add to the 150 sausages that Grandad’s Sausages have donated. Wholesale fruit and vegetable supplier R Noone and Son have also donated Satsumas.
FC United posted a Tweet and Facebook post on Friday 2nd December, with a short message and image image to announce the Christmas Day initiative. The social media posts received over 2,000 retweets and shares and an overwhelming response with offers of help.
As a fan-owned football Club, FC United has always maintained a close relationship with the players and supporters, so we are delighted to announce that the first team players together with manager Karl Marginson and coaching staff have also volunteered to help out at the ground on Christmas Day.
All of the 30 identified volunteer roles have now been filled, and we would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who is willing to give up their Christmas Day to help others.
Although we cannot accept any more offers of help on Christmas Day, we would like to highlight two other initiatives that FC United are running over the Christmas period:
TOY COLLECTION – Saturday 17th December
On Saturday 17th December in conjunction with FC United’s home fixture against Boston United, we will be accepting donations of toys which will be distributed to families and young people across the region.
For many parents, seeing the look of delight on their children’s faces as they open their presents on Christmas morning is one of the highlights of the year. But for many families and young people Christmas can, for a variety of reasons, be a struggle.
The Toy Collection is an initiative that see’s FC United working closely with The Frost Foundation – a charity that helps children and teenagers in the Greater Manchester area who are disadvantaged by illness, circumstance or lack of money. In particular, they support children with disabilities and those living in poverty to help them live their lives to the full.
All types of toys, in good condition, are welcome; anything from cuddly toys, Lego, dolls, jigsaws, games, educational toys, train sets or remote control cars.
Just bring them along on Saturday 17th December to:
Broadhurst Park, Lightbowne Road,
Moston, Manchester, M40 0FJ
Alternatively you can drop them off at the ground anytime on Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.
BIG COAT DAY – Sunday 1st January
On Sunday 1st January 2017 when FC United play Altrincham at home, we will once again be hosting our annual Big Coat Day, where we encourage people to donate coats and warm winter clothing or footwear (in reasonable condition of course).
Launched in 2005, FC United’s Big Coat, is the longest running part of our community programme and down the years we have worked with a number of charities to help acquire warm winter clothing to those most in need in the Manchester area.
So if you have any spare items that you would like to donate to this season’s Big Coat Day please bring them along to the any home matches up to (and including) the final collection at Big Coat Day on Sunday 1st January 2017. You can also drop off any item between Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm
We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has offered help or shared our messages over social media to help spread the word.
To keep up-to-date with all the latest news regarding these initiatives please follow us at @fcunitedmcr or like us on facebook at facebook.com/fcunitedmcr
If you would like to donate money to the club to continue to support initiatives like these, you can do so via the club shop.