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.
The initiative is 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 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.”
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.”
John Shiels, Chief Executive, 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, 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.”