Perhaps more than at any other time in our history, this season we showed that we are much more than just a football club.

In 2019-20, as COVID-19 shut down first football and then the wider economy, we used our resources to become a source of support for our fans and the local community, and a provider of valuable infrastructure for the NHS as it battled the pandemic.

Early in the year as the impact of the pandemic began to be felt in the UK, we contacted all of our neighbouring residential groups, charities and youth organisations to find out what challenges they were facing and used this information to plan our responses. What we heard was that there were three overarching issues: access to educational and physical activity resources, feelings of isolation and lack of connectivity, and lack of food provisions at a time of shortages in shops.

Our outreach work in the first five months was quite naturally focussed on emergency response, addressing the immediate needs of our communities as they reacted to the crisis.

As those needs began to be addressed, we started to consider how we could help our communities to get back on their feet when the time was right, so we pivoted our delivery towards recovery – whether that be physical, emotional, financial or educational. To deliver this, we worked with our City Football Group sister clubs to establish ‘Cityzens Giving for Recovery’, a 12-month campaign that enabled us to co-ordinate our efforts to help our local communities to recover.

“Thank you, City in the Community, for my laptop and for helping me stay connected. Now I can do my work over the holidays ready for Year 6. I really appreciate what you have given me.”
Jason, Manchester
"Manchester's response to the unique set of challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak has been very much a team effort and the Club has made an active and supportive contribution on many fronts."
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council





After engaging with key organisations to fully understand the challenges being faced during the pandemic, Manchester City formalised a partnership with the NHS and Manchester City Council to transform the Etihad Campus and support the delivery of key services.

During lockdown, the Etihad Stadium was opened for the training of over 350 nurses, including those working in the Nightingale Hospital North West. In addition, the Stadium’s Commonwealth Suite became a hub for child immunisation programmes, ensuring 6,000 local children had access to the immunisations they needed that would otherwise have been available to them in school.

The wider Etihad Campus was also opened, with access to these new facilities offered to 26,000 healthcare staff. A rest, relaxation and exercise centre was created, providing a quiet space for staff working within Manchester’s hospitals and health services every day. A ‘click and collect’ shopping service was also established, ensuring that groceries and household supplies were readily available for the front-line workers who needed them.

A drive-through coronavirus testing facility was also set up, utilising one of the Club’s car parks. The centre increased the availability of tests for thousands of key workers with over 1,000 per day being carried out on site, and will remain in place until at least March 2021 should it be required.

"Whether it was facilitating the use of the Etihad Campus as a drive-through testing centre or helping support vulnerable people, Manchester City have really stepped up and demonstrated their commitment to the city."
Joanne Roney OBE, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council


In June 2020, we announced Cityzens Giving for Recovery, a 12-month campaign bringing together all (then) nine City Football Group (CFG) clubs to focus our donations, expertise, facilities, resources and voice on making a positive difference to the recovery of our communities.

In an ordinary year, fans vote on how to support different projects using football to address various social issues. This year is the first time that the campaign has been a collective effort to address one common cause; recovery from COVID-19.

We committed to match donations pound-for-pound on our crowdfunding platforms to support nine recovery-linked projects in Manchester and near each of our CFG sister-clubs.* We also committed to offer the chance for every staff member to spend a day volunteering over the next year, and will encourage fans to get involved too, by donating, fundraising and proposing projects for us to support.

The fundraising started well with the support of Etihad Airways, which donated its front-of-shirt branding to Cityzens Giving for Recovery. Further funds were raised when we auctioned the shirts online, and from the sale of 10,000 face coverings which alone raised £50,000.

* Up to a total £500,000 matched against all donations received on or by 30 September 2020

“This support has enabled us to launch an inspiring new project that will use football to improve the mental health of thousands of young people right across Manchester. We’re so thankful for the support of the fans and the Club.”
Martin, Community Outreach Manager, Manchester


While COVID-19 prevented the sixth annual Young Leaders Summit, presented by Etihad Airways, from taking place as planned at the City Football Academy, we were still able to bring together 250 Young Leaders from 23 cities around the world for a week of digitally-delivered training sessions with City in the Community coaches in Manchester, Melbourne and New York.

With support from Cisco, our Official Technology Partner, the digital Summit used its Webex platform to enable the Young Leaders to connect remotely, participate in valuable discussions and engage in lively collaboration. Training content was adapted to the global situation, covering topics such as leadership in a crisis, adapting community football for social distancing, delivering impact remotely and helping promote COVID-19 recovery through the power of football.

Participants heard from inspirational speakers from the world of sport, including Micah Richards, Karen Bardsley, Britain’s most successful Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, Wimbledon tennis champion Marion Bartoli and sport and television presenter Seema Jaswal. PUMA Ambassador Tommie Smith, the Olympian famous for his Black Power salute protesting racial injustice in the United States from the medal podium after winning the 200-metre event at the 1968 Olympics, also joined the panel of guests.

The virtual summit was a success, with 97% of Young Leaders reporting now having new ideas and knowledge on how to adapt their community football programmes in response to the challenges of COVID-19.

“I felt inspired listening to the speakers share their experiences on leadership. It has helped me understand how I can lead and inspire participants in my community.”
Harsimar, Young Leader, Kuala Lumpur