Premier League football club Manchester United has today (Thursday) announced plans to deliver tens of thousands of meals for NHS staff, with Old Trafford to be used to prepare the food.

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

The meals will be delivered for free to four sites in Manchester. The service will benefit NHS staff at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.

Over 80 permanent and casual club staff have volunteered to prepare the food at Old Trafford kitchens, with social distancing restrictions to be adhered to. Staff and facility costs are being covered by United, with other costs to be underwritten by the Manchester United Foundation.

Bidfood will support the daily operation by facilitating the temperature-controlled deliveries across the city. United is teaming up with Mealforce, a coalition of organisations which have come together to deliver more than 500,000 meals to frontline NHS workers over the past four weeks.

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 hardworking 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.”

John Shiels, chief executive of the Manchester United Foundation, added: “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.”

Images: Manchester United