With over six tons of clothing collected amounting to more than 3,000 items, FC United’s Big Coat Day on Boxing Day was a tremendous success and will make a significant difference to the homeless and needy.
The event was organised to collect coats, scarves, jumpers and other warm clothing for distribution to the homeless and needy across Manchester and the north west. Fans and local people turned up in their hundreds to Gigg Lane before FC’s game with Ashton United on Boxing Day and donated thousands of items. All items were collected at the ground will be distributed to the homeless and others in need by the Mustard Tree and Boaz Trust charities.
Big Coat Day was well supported by local organisations, attracting backing from the Royal Mail, who promoted the initiative to all their staff in delivery offices and on visual display screens across the UK. Bury Council also asked all its staff to support the event, as did the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Guinness Northern Counties Housing Association.
Big Coat Day was also backed by several stars of stage and screen, including comedian Johnny Vegas, actors John Henshaw and James Quinn, pop star Clint Boon and several Coronation Street stars, including the actors who play Hayley Cropper and Eileen Grimshaw. All of these stars made short promotional videos urging people to get involved in Big Coat Day which were then released by FC United on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to promote the initiative.
FC United general manager Andy Walsh said: "Last winter, some 5,000 deaths occurred in the North West, many because of lack of heating and warm clothing. On behalf of the club and our charity partners Mustard Tree and Boaz Trust, I’d just like to say a massive thank you to all those who took time out of their Christmas to donate coats and other warm clothing to help the homeless and needy. Seeing the van outside Gigg Lane packed to the roof with clothing was an inspirational sight and every item that we have collected will make a big difference to many people in need across our area."
FC United member Richard Searle made a short film of the day to view click here
Alan Quinn, Bury councillor and FC United fan, said: "It was great as a local councillor to get Bury Council’s workforce involved, I’m sure that this will become part of their Christmas events now. I’d also like to thank Steve Matthews of Arco Workwear who generously donated many items of clothing too. Once again, FC United is showing others that there is another way for football."
Al Topping, a watch manager from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Big Coat Day was a great success and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is pleased to have played our part supporting FC United and their continued valuable community work."
Also supporting Big Coat Day were students and staff at the University of Salford, who responded magnificently to FC United’s request for warm clothing. The club is especially grateful to the University and College Union and the National Union of Students for spreading the word and actively supporting this year’s campaign.
Sean Welsh, a lecturer in mental health nursing at the University of Salford, said: "Participating in Big Coat Day was a fantastic experience and an overwhelming success. It was great to see so many FC fans and players making generous donations of not only unwanted used clothing, but also lots of brand new items. There was a significant contribution from non match going individuals who dropped gear off, but didn’t stay for the game, so the message is really getting out there and people beyond the club are clearly listening. I was proud to be a part of something that will undoubtedly make a real difference to homeless fellow Mancunians this winter. Thanks to everyone who made such a great effort."