Manchester City have established a formal partnership with the NHS and Manchester Council as they have stepped up their efforts to help the local community in the coronavirus crisis. The club quickly got in touch with the relevant authorities when the scale of the pandemic was becoming apparent, and have been working since to offer any help they can. As a result, with football postponed the Etihad Campus has been transformed to provide a space for more than 26,000 frontline workers in Greater Manchester.
Changes at the ground include:
- opening the stadium up to allow for the training of over 350 nursing staff, including those working in both the Nightingale Northwest Hospital and local community care
- a rest, relaxation and exercise centre for NHS and social care staff with gym equipment and a cafe to provide a space for workers alongside a ‘click and collect’ service for them to be able to pick up groceries and household supplies
- a drive-through coronavirus testing facility on a club car park open for at least three months, with over 1,000 tests per day currently being carried out
City are also flexible about how the stadium may be needed to be used in the future by the health service as needs change in weeks and months, but have stressed that their partnership with the NHS is one for the long term. The changes have been designed so that they can remain in place both when football matches return at the Etihad and also when supporters are allowed to attend games there.
Claire Yarwood, Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Accountable Officer for Manchester Health Care Commissioning, said: “We are really fortunate in Manchester to not only have world-class hospitals and resilient social care, community and primary care services that could respond quickly to this global pandemic, but to also have strong relationships with our partners like Manchester City. The whole team at Manchester City have been brilliant to work with and the club’s support for our NHS and social care services as well as our city’s communities during this crisis is emblematic of the uncrushable spirit of Manchester”.
In addition to their support for NHS and care workers, City have also been taking the time to look after their own supporters that may be in need of help.
First-team stars Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Ilkay Gundogan have been among those ringing fans to check in on them during this time – with letters and gift packages also provided for those in need. The club website has been adapted with a Cityzens at Home section including various online resources for fans including nutritional tips, while City in the Community coaches have continued to deliver education and fitness sessions remotely. The club also teamed up with neighbours United to donate £50,000 each to the Trussell Trust, helping support a network of 19 foodbanks in Greater Manchester.
City’s chief operating officer Omar Berrada said “As a club, we are acutely conscious of the role we can, and should, play in supporting our city, both day to day, and in times of crisis. It was abundantly clear from the outset of this pandemic that we would be able to help, but we wanted to understand how we could do so most effectively in order to best support our public services, our fans and the wider Manchester community. Having consulted, and worked closely, with our friends and partners from across the city for many weeks now, we feel proud to be playing even a small role within a wider community effort that has once again shown Manchester’s strength of spirit, its resilience and togetherness. We remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting Manchester over the coming weeks through this crisis and beyond, into its recovery, in full confidence that our city will come back stronger than before.”
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