Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stars line up to support FC United’s Big Coat Day to help the homeless

 Source: Social Enterprise

 Local celebrities, actors and comedians are lining up to support social enterprise football club FC United of Manchester’s annual Big Coat Day on Boxing Day, which aims to help the homeless and needy by collecting warm winter clothing before their home game against Ashton United on 26 December 2011.

Last year the impact of the cold winter months on the North West took someone’s life every half hour.

FC United of Manchester’s decision to organise a ‘Big Coat Day’ collection of clothing at its New Year fixture proved timely – the winter was the coldest in almost 40 years. However, a fantastic response from the public and football fans alike saw a 5.5 tonne wall of winter clothing collected to keep the poor and needy warm around the city.

The club aims to do better this year and the prospects are looking good with support already pledged from several stars of stage and screen across the UK, 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.

Big Coat Day has also attracted backing from a raft of partners including the Royal Mail, who are promoting it to all their staff in delivery offices and on visual display screens across the UK. Bury Council is also asking all its staff to support the event, as are the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Guinness Northern Counties Housing Association are also backing 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. I would ask anyone across Manchester with any unwanted items of warm clothing to take it directly to Gigg Lane between 12 noon and 2.55pm on Boxing Day, where it will be collected for distribution to the needy.”

Over the years, Big Coat Day has proven very successful with thousands of items being donated. All items will be collected from the ground and distributed by the Mustard Tree and Boaz Trust charities. “Any reasonable quality winter clothing can be brought to Gigg Lane between 12 noon and 2.55pm where it will be collected by Mustard Tree and Boaz Trust charities that distribute the clothing. Those that cannot get to Gigg Lane should contact us at FC United and we will make arrangements for collections,” said Walsh.

FC United’s game against Ashton United on Boxing Day has also been designated as a ‘Kids Go Free’ day so the club is urging people to make it a family day out to help with carrying bags of clothing to the game.

Here are a few clips of what some celebrity friends of FC have to say about Big Coat Day: