United offers support and appreciation to NHS
Manchester United today announced a package of measures to support the NHS in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. The club stands ready to consider and accommodate further requests from the NHS for use of the facilities at Old Trafford.
After discussion with the NHS, the fleet of 16 vehicles has also been put on standby with volunteer drivers available to support NHS courier operations in the area. United has also donated medical equipment and consumables to the Salford Royal, including protective equipment, dressings and other club medical supplies.
Across the network of Manchester United Foundation partner schools, coaches will continue to work with the children of key workers. These full-time coaches deliver personal development, educational and football programmes in high schools across Greater Manchester.
Old Trafford has been placed on a reserve list as a possible temporary blood donation centre, which may be activated later in the year as a response to a potential fall in blood donations during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the club will continue to offer NHS workers staying at Hotel Football free car parking for as long as it is required.
The support for the NHS is part of the club’s wider commitment to supporting its local community through the pandemic. This week, all perishable goods stocked at Old Trafford for use until the summer – amounting to 30,000 items of food and drink – were delivered by Foundation staff to food banks, hospitals and other local charitable organisations which usually receive unused food from the club after matches. United catering staff had already used food in stock to cook around 350 meals for local food banks and charities.
“Where possible our coaches continue to support partner schools that remain open to children of key support workers and those who are vulnerable. We have also worked tirelessly with the Club to ensure the delivery of food donations. I am incredibly proud of how united our workforce is; the number of staff volunteers wanting to support this initiative has been overwhelming.”
Raj Jain, chief Executive, Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: “A huge thanks from me, the whole of the Northern Care Alliance, and in particular those at our Salford Royal site who were all really pleased to receive your generous donation. This donation was a huge morale boost for them at this difficult time.”
Sir Alex Ferguson, who has experienced first-hand the care, skill and dedication of the NHS, underlined his admiration and appreciation for the service and its staff. He said: “I’m delighted we are now recognising the importance of our NHS – as I experienced two years ago after they saved my life – the response to this pandemic has been magnificent and has made me proud of the way the club and the British people have rallied round to help. Well done.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “The NHS staff and the volunteers fighting the virus are putting themselves at risk to keep everybody safe and doing a truly amazing job. They deserve thanks and praise from everybody for their work and their efforts every single day.”
Manchester United players will be taking part in a new campaign launching on the club’s media channels on Thursday to express their appreciation for the NHS and for healthcare workers fighting coronavirus around the world. Fans will be able to take part by sending their own messages of thanks and nominating a frontline worker for recognition.
Harry Maguire, club captain, who also co-ordinated the United player response to the #PlayersTogether initiative, said: “On behalf of all the players, our thoughts are with all those that have been affected by this terrible virus.
“It has been heart-warming to see the nation come together to show their appreciation to the NHS and other critical workers. By working together we will get through this and let’s hope we are stronger for it.”