International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is an annual global event that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and represents a call to action for accelerating a more inclusive gender equal world. The event will take place in 2017 on Wednesday 8th March and, as in previous years, is something that FC United will support, in particular recognising the key role that women play at FC United and in the wider football world.
The theme of International Women’s Day in 2017 will be #BeBoldForChange and we will announce our plans for this very shortly.
Youth United Day
Youth United Day is an event that recognises the contribution of local young people. This year the event will take place at our home match versus Stalybridge Celtic on 1st April 2017.
As in previous years the event will offer youth groups, schools, colleges and sports clubs, whether they are involved in football or not, the opportunity to promote themselves at the ground and get involved in a range of activities and encourage young people to enjoy the FC United match day experience for free.
2016’s Youth United Day, the first one staged at Broadhurst Park, was a huge success with over 500 hundred young people participating in a range of activities including a climbing wall,
bouncy castle, face painting, a pool tournament, athletics taster sessions run by the Salford Harriers and Athletics Club and football sessions facilitated by Moston Juniors Football Club on the 3G pitch. The event was funded by Places for People as part of their ongoing commitment to FC United’s community work.
There will again be a range of activities for local young people at this year’s Youth United Day and admission for under 18s will once again be free.
Refugee Week is a national week-long festival that celebrates the contribution of refugees and aims to promote understanding of why people seek sanctuary. This year’s Refugee Week will run from the 19th to 25th June.
Plans will be announced shortly for a return match in Glasgow, during Refugee Week, between our Freedom from Torture side and our friends United Glasgow FC following their match on the 3G pitch at Broadhurst Park at People United Day in October 2016. The teams will once again be playing for the Alan Henning Trophy which was won by United Glasgow FC in October. A big thank you to Crystal Vehicle Rental Services for funding this wonderful event.
Freedom from Torture provide clinical support, including medical consultations and psychological therapies, for victims of torture who arrive in the UK as asylum seekers having suffered the kind of pain and suffering that the rest of us can probably barely imagine. One of the many strands of FC United’s community work involves a group from Freedom from Torture attending weekly football sessions at Broadhurst Park.
United Glasgow FC was formed in 2011 to primarily help refugees and asylum seekers but they now welcome players from all nationalities, genders and walks of life bringing together individuals with a shared love of football who may otherwise never have met. Just like FC United they take a principled stance against all forms of discrimination and are committed to providing affordable football.
People United Day
People United Day is FC United’s annual celebration of the diversity of our local community and reinforces our proud and principled commitment to develop strong links with that community and be accessible to all and discriminate against none.
It provides a welcome reminder that racism or any other form of discrimination will not be tolerated at FC United because we believe that all people should be able to enjoy football without fear of intimidation or abuse. Indeed the club encourages people of all backgrounds to take an active role in the club and reach out to those communities that may feel socially excluded.
The very first People United Day in October 2006 memorably saw over a thousand young people attend the game against Glossop North End at Gigg Lane including many young asylum seekers and refugees. The “FC United Against Racism” banner was carried around the pitch by a group of the club’s junior members at the head of a pre-match parade of dozens of homemade banners and flags celebrating diversity and supporting refugees and asylum seekers and was given a wonderful ovation by a crowd of more than three thousand.
Since then People United Day has been an annual event in the FC calendar and down the years has featured displays of art, photography, drama, poetry and banner making all promoting the theme of people from different backgrounds working and living together.
This season’s People United Day on 29th October 2016 featured a special friendly match between a team from United Glasgow FC, comprised largely of refugees and a team from the Freedom from Torture charity and took place on the 3G pitch adjacent to the ground following FC United’s match against Gloucester City.
The event also saw FC United working with around two hundred local school children to educate them on the involvement of refugees in football, both locally and globally, and also to discuss the benefits of supporter ownership and the uniqueness of FC United as a football club in the UK and further afield. This included two exhibitions; one on the involvement of refugees in football and the other on supporter ownership of football clubs.
Big Coat Day
Big Coat Day is our annual collection of winter clothing to help the homeless and vulnerable during the winter months. It was launched in the club’s first season in 2005, and is the longest running part of our community programme. Down the years we have worked with a number of charities to help get warm winter clothing to those most in need in the Manchester area and a number of famous faces have, in the past, lent us their support too including the actors Maxine Peake, John Henshaw and Julie Hesmondhalgh, comedian Justin Moorhouse and New Order’s Peter Hook.
The “Big Coat” title refers to a comment from the club’s very early days when we played only our second ever match at AFC Wimbledon in July 2005. On a lovely, warm summer’s day in south west London a television crew covered the match and interviewed supporters. When one fan was asked, with the sort of “it’ll be over by Christmas” scepticism familiar to us all at the time, whether he’d still be as keen to follow FC United in the depths of a freezing northern winter he replied, succinctly, that he’d “just get a big coat”. And so when, a few months later, in the winter of that first season the club staged its first collection of clothing for homeless people “Big Coat Day” seemed like an apt, slightly tongue-in-cheek title.
Aside from the self-deprecating humour, there is, of course, a serious point to the whole thing. Each winter it’s reckoned that around five thousand excess deaths occur in the north west of England simply because of a lack of heating or warm clothing. That translates to roughly one death every thirty minutes or so during the winter months; deaths that shouldn’t happen and we can prevent relatively easily. Big Coat Day represents our annual attempt to address this issue locally.
On Big Coat Day in January 2010 despite our home match against Ossett Town being called off we still managed to collect more than four tons of clothing as MPs, local councillors, schools and community centres struggled through the snow and ice to get to Gigg Lane to make donations. This total was beaten on Boxing Day 2011 when we collected a fantastic six tons of clothing (about 3,000 items) before our match against Ashton United. Last season, our first Big Coat Day at Broadhurst Park, we also asked for items of footwear (again in good condition) for the first time as many rough sleepers spend hours on their feet wandering the city.
This season’s Big Coat Day was held on Sunday 1st January 2017 at FC’s home match against Altrincham and was the biggest collection we have had to date as we changed the way that we ran it by collecting clothing and footwear during our home matches throughout November and December. We will review this process and aim to build on it for the 2017-18 season.
This season we worked with five partner organisations to get the clothing to those most in need;
Lifeshare is a voluntary organisation that provides practical help, support and information for homeless and vulnerable people in Manchester and Salford. They assist people in finding suitable accommodation and provide emergency food parcels, warm clothing and help with benefit claims.
Barnabus is a Manchester-based charity that provides physical and emotional support for the city’s homeless and vulnerable people particularly those with mental health issues or severe addictions to help them get their lives back on track.
Boaz Trust is a longstanding supporter of Big Coat Day and is a charity that helps destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Greater Manchester who have no access to public funds and often nowhere to turn for help.
Asylum Support Housing Advice (ASHA), like the Boaz Trust, is a charity that provides support and advice for asylum seekers whose applications for asylum have been refused and who, as a result, often end up homeless and destitute.
Salford Women’s Aid is a charity that offers a range of services to help support women, men and children who are affected by domestic abuse.
Toy Story is our annual collection of toys and games for families and young people in need over the Christmas period and was born from a recognition that for many families and young people Christmas can, for a variety of reasons, be a struggle. All types of toy are welcome but must be new; anything from cuddly toys, Lego and dolls to jigsaws, games, educational toys, train sets or remote control diggers.
Our very first toy collection was held on Saturday 17th December 2016 in partnership with the Frost Foundation which is a charity that helps children and teenagers in the Greater Manchester area who are disadvantaged by illness, circumstance or lack of money. In particular, they support children with disabilities and those living in poverty to help them live their lives to the full. Rather than cash, this support typically takes the form of much needed items of equipment such as mattresses, wheelchairs or electronic devices and also school uniforms in summer and presents at Christmas.
The 2016 Toy Story collection, like Big Coat Day, was staggered over several match days and two vans full of toys were collected by the Frost Foundation after the match on Saturday 17th December. The success of this season’s collection is something we will look to build for the 2017-18 season.
23-01-2017 at 14:29