Manchester United are opening up the doors of their Red Cafe to the local community for December, providing “warm spaces” to those set to struggle over the coming months.
As part of the club’s winter campaign, United by Your Side, the Red Cafe will provide a safe space for people to stay warm, eat, drink and chat.
The area will be available to absolutely everyone and completely free of charge every Monday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, starting on 6 December from 5:00-8:00pm.
People can arrive and register via the North Stand reception (Sir Alex Ferguson Stand), before being guided to the Red Cafe and left to get warm, enjoy hot beverages and plenty of snacks, as well as socialise.
Crucially, another objective of the Red Cafe’s United by Your Side scheme is helping combat loneliness, as a big part of the warm spaces are the ‘talking benches’ located on the forecourt at Old Trafford.
Signposted as a welcoming place for people who feel alone or are simply worried, shy or anxious to sit and talk to others, this area is designed for people to look after one another and reach out during a period when we’re all encouraged to be more giving.
As United’s COO Collette Roche detailed in an official statement: “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.”
In addition, today (Friday 2 December), fans are drumming up extra support for the United Foundation and homeless charity Centrepoint by staging a fundraising sleepout in the Munich Tunnel.
The club is working with the council and several local and national charities like Centrepoint to deliver the initiatives and communicate them to people who need it most.
Eleanor Roaf, Director of Public Health at Trafford Council, said: “This year with the increase in the 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 how football is at the heart of our borough.”
Manchester Mind are also playing a key role in the campaign. The CEO of the mental health charity’s Mancunian arm, Elizabeth Simpson, said: “We know that many people are struggling at the moment due to the cost of living crisis and that this is impacting their mental health.”
She went on to note these added pressures on top of an already busy and often stressful time of year “can feel overwhelming and isolating”, which is why initiatives like United By Your Side are so important.
The sleepout alone has already raised nearly £15,000 at the time of writing and the lifeline the warm spaces set up in Old Trafford will provide cannot be overstated.
Moreover, while it fills our hearts to hear of local institutions like this doing their bit to help people in the community, it’s heartbreaking to know that warm banks are even required. Sadly, United are by no means the only organisation that felt it was necessary to offer up this kind of support.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, loneliness, rising costs or simply not knowing where to go for help, please send them to Manchester Mind’s cost of living information, their wellbeing hub and be sure to make them aware of warm spaces like those at Red Cafe if they need it.
Well done to the club and the associated charities for setting up such vital resources and a safe haven this December. United by name, united by nature.
*Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 16 and due to United’s EFL Cup fixture against Burnley on Wednesday 21 December, the Red Cafe will open on Thursday 22 December instead.
Featured Image — Manchester United/Dayne Topkin (via Unsplash)
Sacha Lord fills Manchester with enormous adverts shaming Rishi Sunak as Tory Conference begins
Sacha Lord has publicly shamed Rishi Sunak by plastering enormous digital adverts all over Manchester, right as the Conservative Party Conference takes place.
Lord has even paid to take over the largest screen in the city centre, which happens to be directly above where the Tory Conference is being held.
Roving digital advertising trucks are also circling the area as a stark reminder to the PM of his actions during his time as Chancellor in the pandemic.
Sacha Lord, Parklife and WHP boss as well as Greater Manchester’s Nighttime Economy Adviser, has said that the adverts are for ‘3.8 million lives that were ignored’ when Covid halted the events industry.
He has once again called out Sunak for providing no financial support to all the freelancers whose work vanished practically overnight.
The adverts themselves show a grinning Sunak, his eyes edited red, with the words ‘I ignored 3.8 million self-employed because they didn’t vote Tory’.
Sacha has then released a video where he reminded people of an interview where Sunak said those who were left without financial support ‘probably were not Conservatives in the first place’.
He again outlined the heartbreaking reality that so many people in hospitality and events faced in 2020 and 2021 when the industry collapsed.
He said in his video: “I’ve taken out the largest digital screen in the city centre, which is directly above the Tory conference, for the entire duration of the conference.
During the pandemic, we witness the complete and utter decimation of the events industry. Freelancers left with no financial support whatsoever. I witnessed families break up, marriages dissolve, houses repossessed. I also know two people who took their own lives. They simply could not live riddled with so much debt.
“There were in total 3.8 million self-employed people who were left to fend for themselves. And at the time none of us could work out ‘why is the Chancellor doing this?’
“And we now know the reason why he left 3.8 million people out to dry. The reason being, he didn’t believe they would vote Conservative. He put politics before lives. So if you were one of those people who were excluded and had your life ruined, this is for you.
“This must never, ever happen again. It’s a disgrace, and we should never forget the injustice that these people suffered.”
Sacha Lord then wrote: “This is for the 3.8 million lives that were ignored. The freelancers and the self employed.
“The Conference are trying every trick to have this taken down…so I’ve just deployed large digital vans as well, to keep circling the area.
“Wave if you see one…”
It’s the most perfectly passive-aggressive move of all time, this.
One person replied to Sacha: “THANK YOU! This directly affected my partner and I know the stress and strain it put on him and many people in his industry. Too many people just want to ignore that this happened. The light you continue to shine on this is absolutely phenomenonal. Again, THANK YOU.”
Another said: “Excellent work yet again. Keep it up, @Sacha_Lord! While a few got very rich during that horrible year of Covid, freelancers, self-employed and hospitality were largely hung out to dry by the govt, who now absolutely must bring VAT down to 10% for hospitality, @CampaignforPubs.”
Someone else shared: “I was one of the Excluded. Too long out of employment and not long enough self-employed. I fell between the cracks of the financial support and had to fend for myself.”
Northern Quarter’s iconic ‘Big Horn’ could be coming back to Tib Street
Manchester is famous for many iconic landmarks, with many of them situated in the legendary district of the Northern Quarter, and while it might not be there anymore, there is one that still stands firm and fondly in our memories: ‘The Big Horn’.
So much so, in fact, that it might even be coming back.
If you ever walked down Tib Street during some time between 1999 and 2017, you will have come across the rather odd-looking sculpture simply known as The Big Horn, created by artist David Kemp as part of his ‘Unsound Instruments’ series.
Erected just before the millennium, the unique piece of artwork was built as a symbol of growth in the Northern Quarter, an area of Manchester that has continued to be a melting pot for local history, culture and progress. Unfortunately, however, with that progress often comes the old making way for the new.
The trombone-shaped was sadly removed from its home on the corner of Tib and Church Street six years ago after it was announced that the land it sat on was to become a new apartment block developed by Salford-born billionaire and Betfred founder, Fred Done.
It’s over half a decade since we last saw The Big Horn in this iconic part of town, but thanks to a new planning application by those passionate about maintaining and restoring local culture, it is now on the verge of making a comeback just around the corner.
Being driven by property developers Bruntwood and already in the consultation stage, a proposal, heritage statement and even details surrounding where the sculpture could be reinstated have all been drawn up and submitted — it’s now just a case of waiting for the green light.
With the plan to reaffix the horn to the side of another nearby cultural hotspot, Afflecks, which bears just as much significance on the area’s music and art scene, The Big Horn’s return could be imminent and attract a whole new set of eyes, as well loom large in those that previously admired it once again.
Set to measure up at 5.3 metres off the ground and 12.8m above street level at its highest point, not to mention be attached to one of Manchester‘s most beloved buildings, the sculpture could be set to boast more pride of place than ever.
The council application was submitted on 15 September and those interested in having their say can get involved with the consultation right up until 13 October.
You can play your part in saving a piece of Manc history and bringing The Big Horn back to the Northern Quarter HERE.