Hospitality

United to open up Old Trafford to community during December

Premier League football club Manchester United has launched United by Your Side, a campaign that will enable members of the local community to stay at Old Trafford during December amid falling temperatures and rising heating bills.

Old Trafford’s Red Cafe will provide people in need with a space to stay warm, chat, have a hot drink and some snacks. The area will be available to everyone, and children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

The cafe will open every Monday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, starting on December 5 from 5pm-8pm. People can arrive and register via the North Stand reception and will be guided to the Red Cafe.

United is also introducing ‘talking benches’ on the forecourt at Old Trafford. The benches will be signposted as a welcoming place for people who may feel lonely or worried to sit and talk to others.

Collette Roche, 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.”

United 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 at 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.”