February 10th saw MLILY head to Old Trafford once again for ‘Ambassador Day’, a chance to meet the Manchester United legends and share the experience with deserving charities and organisations in the local area.
Last year, NHS staff from the surrounding Manchester area visited the event, enjoying time with the legends and chatting about all things football and the NHS, whilst enjoying refreshments.
This year, MLILY were keen to broaden the variety of organisations, reaching out to two separate groups local to the Manchester area, to attend the day.
The day was a huge success. After how well our endeavour with the NHS went last year, we were keen to invite back more organisations that do their best to help Manchester. Everyone deserves a great sleep and the day was wonderful for championing healthy sleep; our partnership with Manchester United and the people of the local area.‘ – Pomi Khan, CEO MLILY UK, Canada and France
MLILY contacted two organisations for the event, starting with The Mustard Tree, a local organisation based in the Greater Manchester area which works to tackle both the causes of homelessness and to support those currently experiencing the issue themselves.
Since 1994 The Mustard Tree has been helping people by offering practical support, friendships; work connections and health care.
Mustard Tree is also keen to champion the inclusion of new experiences and events to broaden communication and life skills for their members, making the trip to Old Trafford a perfect opportunity for this.
Staff members Jack and Ellie were happy to chat openly about the work they do around the Manchester area, conversing with the legends on a variety of topics, from football to volunteering.
Mustard Tree was also delighted to bring along three Freedom Volunteers to the event, all of whom were blown away by how special and intimate the whole experience was.
‘We were delighted to attend this private event – the guys had no idea how personal the experience was going to be, and was blown away by how intimate it was. This was an opportunity that would not naturally be available to our Freedom Volunteers (who join Mustard Tree to gain new skills, find work and secure somewhere to live).
Having experienced previous hardship in their lives, a meeting of this calibre simply would not be possible for them under normal circumstances (in fact, two of the Freedom Volunteers would not even be allowed to attend a football match in their own country! – Jack Barton, Fundraising and Communications Officer
The whole morning was a great success, with all guests delighted at the opportunities offered to them, from signed memorabilia with the legends through to their own personal tour of the Old Trafford ground!
Next, Salford Litter Heroes were contacted, an organisation founded by the local residents of the area to tackle the litter and fly-tipping sites dotted around Greater Manchester and Salford. Two members of the organisation were delighted to attend, keen to meet the legends and chat openly about the work they do.
Tim Whitehouse, the founder of Swinton Litter Heroes, was happy to comment on his experience of meeting legends Wes Brown, Bryan Robson OBE, Andy Cole and Denis Irwin.
‘The day went so well. The Manchester United hospitality staff were so friendly and welcoming and also incredibly knowledgable about the club and the ex-players/legends we were due to meet.
The ex-players themselves were extremely approachable and very supportive of what both ourselves and the Mustard Tree are trying to do in the community.
A great experience and hopefully helpful in increasing the profile of the Salford Litter Heroes.’ – Tim Whitehouse.
From signing hi-visibility jackets to getting pictures with staff, the legends were interested to learn more about the organisation, whilst the Salford Litter Hero volunteers were delighted to meet the legends!
Debbie Grove, founder of Eccles Litter Heroes was also keen to comment on the event. Alongside her work with environmental cleanups, Debbie is also looking into setting up a community youth club in the Manchester area to focus on suicide and self-harm prevention and to offer mental health support.
‘I really enjoyed myself! The staff and the players were so nice and I felt very comfortable. MLILY, Tim and the Mustard Tree staff were all amazing. Thank you so much for the opportunity. Debbie Grove.
‘We wanted to say a huge thank you to MLILY and Manchester United for making this possible for our volunteers – please continue your fantastic work!’ – Jack Barton, Fundraising and Communications Officer