Old Trafford to open up for the community

Thursday 01 December 2022 15:45

Manchester United will open the doors of Old Trafford to the local community during December to help those facing difficult months ahead as part of the club’s winter campaign - United by Your Side.

As temperatures fall and heating bills rise, the Red Cafe at the iconic stadium will provide those in need with a space to stay warm, chat, have a hot drink and some snacks. 

The area will be available to everyone*, free of charge, every Monday and Wednesday** for the next three weeks, starting 5 December from 17:00 to 20:00 GMT. People can arrive and register via the North Stand reception and will be guided to the Red Cafe. 

In addition to the warm space the club are introducing ‘talking benches’ on the forecourt at Old Trafford – signposted as a welcoming place for people who may feel lonely or worried to sit and talk to others.
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We are by your side this Christmas

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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 club is 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 show football is at the heart of our borough.”

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Manchester Mind have been supporting better mental health for over 30 years. They believe in the power of listening and being heard and know that talking about mental health is often the first step to feeling better. 

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.”

If you, or someone you know, is living with a mental health problem or struggling with rising costs, having access to the right information is vital. Visit Manchester Mind’s website to access their cost of living information here and their wellbeing hub here.

*Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 16. 

**Due to our EFL Cup fixture against Burnley on Wednesday 21 December we will be opening the Red Cafe on Thursday 22 December instead.