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FC United’s Food Hub

FC United of Manchester have become the latest club to show what can be done during the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the North Manchester Business Network and the City Council. 

Over the past three months, with the non-league season suspended, the club’s Community Liaison Officer, Vinny Thompson, set about transforming the Northern Premier League side’s Broadhurst Park home into a foodbank hub.

Now a group of around 30 volunteers, including both club staff and supporters, are helping to supply dozens of local families and people in need as a result of COVID-19 every week.

“We’ve got the club secretary, furloughed staff, season ticket holders as well as people from the local community coming along to volunteer,” Vinny told us.

“There are members and fans from across the country, who perhaps only come to one or two games a year, telling us they’re proud to have made a donation and help out where they can.

“We’ve even had a fan who has been shielding from COVID-19 at home, but who’s helping us with logistics working from home because she’s keen to do her bit.

“We even received a donation of food from Manchester City, showing that the issues we’re dealing with really cross traditional club boundaries.”

The plans for the scheme have already moved well beyond the immediate impact of COVID-19, however.

“We’re already looking at the next phase, dealing with the financial impacts of the epidemic, working with childhood poverty groups and helping people who might not have access to public funds.

“We’re working out where in the ground we can relocate to a more purpose-built facility when football returns, so that we can turn the current hub back into its main use as a matchday bar.

“The situation is not unique to FC United, or Manchester, and if we can help in any way we’re happy to speak to anyone about what we’ve done and offer any assistance we can to help set up a similar scheme.”

The club featured on Monday’s episode of The One Show (available on iPlayer here), and you can find out more about them on Twitter @FCUMFoodHub.

  • If you know of similar initiatives being run at your local club where fans are helping out in the local community, please get in touch.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball