Hosted online this year, the annual NW Football Awards pays tribute to those who have ‘achieved footballing excellence, both on and off the field’, and the Foundation is proud to have been recognised for the incredible work of its staff over what has been a difficult few months for all.
When the pandemic first hit in March 2020, Manchester United Foundation staff were amongst the first to respond to the challenges faced by lockdown, recognising that provision had to change, and we consequently become an industry leader during these unprecedented times.
Sessions were immediately postponed for the safety of our communities, but in their place some incredible initiatives, aid and resources were offered to thousands – be it school pupils, frontline staff or those using foodbanks.
Working closely with Manchester United, the Foundation continue supporting the families and young people with whom we usually work on a daily basis, as well as donating funds and meals to the NHS and local foodbanks, and working with local councils to distribute essential IT and PPE equipment.
John Shiels, chief executive of Manchester United Foundation, said: “I’m delighted that the work of our staff has been recognised through this award. Alongside the club they have worked tirelessly – driving vans, delivering PPE, donating food parcels, looking after the vulnerable and children of key workers, collating activity packs, devising online educational worksheets…all those who took part in our Covid-19 response did so with boundless energy and compassion.”
During the pandemic, the Foundation committed over £1m to communities in Greater Manchester and across the world. The funds were largely generated through last year’s hugely successful Treble Reunion match, which ironically wouldn’t have taken place if it was arranged for 2020, and we wouldn’t have been in such a strong position to make a difference to our communities.
The main focus of the response has been to ensure we remain a constant in the lives of those who rely on our services on a daily basis. The Foundation typically works with vulnerable families and young people who have needed our support during this time more than ever, so we have endeavoured to go above and beyond and do all we can to make a difference.
John said: “The work doesn’t stop here. We’ll continue to serve and support our communities, as the most difficult times may be yet to come. My motto for this season is ‘Where we serve, we stay,’ and that’s exactly what we have done, and will always do.”
The focus is now on the future, and continuing to serve our communities through the current UK lockdown, throughout the Christmas period, and beyond. Over the coming months, donations and funding will be even more important to allow us to continue and grow our response, support and activities for those most in need.