Staff prepare food in a kitchen at Old Trafford.

United to deliver 60,000 meals to NHS staff

Thursday 30 April 2020 13:30

The first of an initial 60,000 prepared meals for NHS staff across Manchester will be dispatched from Old Trafford tomorrow (Friday) in a joint-initiative between United, Manchester United Foundation, Mealforce and the club’s catering supplier, Bidfood.

Over the coming weeks, these meals will be delivered free of charge, across four sites in Manchester, as part of the ongoing effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.  NHS staff based at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, who would normally have to provide their own meals while on duty, will benefit from the service.

The initiative will involve over 80 permanent and casual club staff, who have volunteered to prepare the food in the kitchens at Old Trafford, in line with UK Government social distancing restrictions. Staff and facility costs are being covered by United while all other costs will be underwritten by Manchester United Foundation.

From there, the club’s catering supplier, Bidfood, will support the daily operation by facilitating the temperature-controlled deliveries across the city, also free of charge.

Some 60,000 meals will be delivered to NHS staff in hospitals across Greater Manchester.

The initiative is in collaboration with Mealforce, a coalition of organisations which have come together in a co-ordinated philanthropic effort to deliver more than 500,000 meals, in the last four weeks, to frontline NHS workers across the UK. Mealforce works under the umbrella of Helpforce, a charity which supports volunteering in the NHS. 

Peter Blythin, executive director of Workforce and Corporate Business at MFT said: “Thank you to Manchester United, Bidfood and Mealforce for this very generous offer for our hard-working NHS staff. These meals will be a great boost to our teams at Oxford Road Campus in Manchester city centre, Trafford General Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital, as we all work hard together in our response to COVID-19.”

Dr Pete Turkington, chief officer and medical director at Salford Royal, said: “A huge thank-you to Manchester United, Bidfood and Mealforce for this fantastic donation; your generosity is very much appreciated.

“We have been overwhelmed by the continued outpouring of support by the local community and businesses, who have been so generous with their donations for our staff during these incredibly challenging times.”

Ian Wace, the businessman who has led the Mealforce initiative, said: “Manchester United is a very generous addition to the Mealforce coalition and I’d like thank them and all the businesses, individuals and charities who have come together to support our amazing NHS workers.”

The initiative will involve over 80 permanent and casual club staff, who have volunteered to prepare the food in the kitchens at Old Trafford.

John Shiels, chief executive of Manchester United Foundation said: “While many of our regular programmes have been disrupted by the pandemic, Manchester United Foundation is doing everything possible to continue helping the communities that we serve during this period of elevated need. Delivering meals to local hospitals is a wonderful initiative that unites the Old Trafford workforce in its support of the NHS; I thank everyone for their commitment to this inspiring scheme.”

Collette Roche, chief operating officer at Manchester United, said: “It is an honour to provide this service as part of our support to the NHS. We are all indebted to them for what they are doing to protect and care for us all.

“Our talented chefs and catering team are extremely proud to be making a contribution to the national effort at this time.”

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