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Stadium sleep out raises over £40,000 for vulnerable young people

More than 120 fans bedded down at Old Trafford in aid of Manchester United Foundation and Centrepoint.

| by Rebecca Mee

Manchester United’s second stadium sleep out in support of vulnerable young people has raised more than £40,000 for charity.

Over 120 fans braved the wind and rain at Old Trafford last Friday, as they swapped their beds for a sleeping bag in a bid to raise vital funds and awareness for young people experiencing poverty and hardship during the winter months.

Supporters from across the UK bedded down whilst overlooking the iconic Old Trafford pitch as part of a special event, from which all funds raised will be split between Manchester United Foundation and youth homelessness charity, Centrepoint.

In what was an insightful and moving evening, fans were able to share their real-life experiences as well as take part in activities such as listening to helpline calls, writing to participants that had experienced homelessness from Foundation partner school, Manchester Enterprise Academy, and hearing from Joe, a young person supported by Centrepoint.

One of those who joined supporters for the night was former Red, David May. He said: “I’m from North Manchester, born and raised in Middleton, so Manchester is very close to my heart. It’s heart-breaking that people are sleeping outside in the pouring rain. It’s not right. I’ve been listening to a lovely lad, Joe, who was saying the difficulties of what it’s like day-in day-out, being homeless, having to live on the streets – this just brings it home, it really does.

“It’s a fantastic cause and a great turnout on a horrible night, but we’ll have a few laughs along the way as well and keep it light-hearted, but the main thing is plenty of money being raised for the Foundation and Centrepoint. I’m absolutely buzzing to be part of it.”

Dedicated United fan and fundraiser, Andy, took on the challenge to help those in need. He said: “Not many people know that there are so many kids who are vulnerable, struggling and homeless. If there’s anything I can do to help somebody and raise awareness, that’s what I want to do. A brand like United is a global voice, so it’s amazing to do stuff like this, and the Foundation partnering up with Centrepoint is huge to raise that awareness so that more people know what’s going on, especially across the North West and the UK.

“Looking down at the Stretford End is a good way to go to sleep. The rain isn’t going to let up, but it’s nice having the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand and the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand to remember the bigger purpose of why we’re doing this.”

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, John Shiels MBE, Chief Executive of Manchester United Foundation, expressed his gratitude to those sleeping out. He said: “Our Old Trafford sleep out was such a humbling experience for the 100-plus supporters who selflessly bedded down for the night, in aid of Manchester United Foundation and Centrepoint.

“Fortunately, spending the night sleeping rough was something we had to contend with for just one night – and we had the privilege of doing so with the backdrop of Old Trafford as a motivating factor. The experience allows everyone to better appreciate the challenges that those sleeping rough must sadly face every day.

“The sleep out was a life-affirming experience with a great camaraderie of everyone coming together for such a worthy cause. We are thankful to everyone who took part or donated, your contribution will make an immense difference to young people in hardship this winter.”

Julie Milnes, Director of Fundraising at Centrepoint, said: “We’re so grateful to everyone who took part in the second Old Trafford sleep out who have raised vital funds for both Manchester United Foundation and Centrepoint.

“Unfortunately, this money and the support we provide is needed more than ever. Centrepoint’s Helpline is taking more and more calls from young people facing homelessness and our frontline teams here are working hard every day to ensure these young people get the support they need.

“We can change the story, though. The awareness we’ve created, and the funds raised, will go a long way in ensuring that young people in Greater Manchester and beyond have the best chances of moving on and leaving homelessness behind for good.”

It is estimated that almost 136,000 young people in the UK were homeless or at risk of homelessness last year. During the 2022/23 season, the Foundation supported more than 25,000 young people by delivering community and education programmes across Greater Manchester.

Alongside fans, club partners also kindly donated both time and items to the event. Contributing partners include:

• DXC Technology – Presenting Partner of Manchester United Foundation – brought 26 of their staff members to the event to help raise awareness.
• Chivas – Official Spirits Partner of Manchester United – provided a well-deserved breakfast for participants the following morning and paid a contribution to everyone’s fundraising total.
• – Official Supporter Travel Supplier of Manchester United – had six staff members attend.
• Cadbury – Official Partner of Manchester United – provided a chocolate bar for all those attending.

Donations to the appeal are still open. Click here to donate.