How can football bring communities together, challenge stereotypes and help newcomers feel at home? What do these uncertain times mean for football projects with refugees?
David Feindouno, Founder and Chair of Plymouth Hope, was joined by Bilal Hussain, Community Organiser for from Amnesty International’s Football Welcomes and Matthew Barrett, Co-founder of Goal Click, for this workshop on 09 February 2021, part of the Refugee Week Slow Conference.
Plymouth Hope is a social inclusion charity in Devon that brings communities together through football. It was founded in 2008 by David Feindouno, himself an asylum seeker at the time, in order to help reduce the isolation of people seeking asylum in the city. It soon grew to include other local communities too, harnessing the power of sport to bring about inclusion and understanding between communities.
Plymouth Hope Festival has hosted the official launch of Refugee Week in Plymouth for the past ten years, and in 2018 it became the largest multicultural event in the city. Since Covid, Plymouth Hope has been focusing on wellbeing activities, sports activities for women and providing wifi access to people in asylum accomodation. Plymouth Hope ran a virtual festival for Refugee Week 2020.
Amnesty International: Football Welcomes
Amnesty International’s Football Welcomes programme celebrates the contribution players with a refugee background make to the beautiful game, and the positive role football can play in bringing people together and creating more welcoming communities.
During the Football Welcomes weekend in April, clubs from the Premier League, Women’s Super League, Scottish Premiership and grassroots teams across the country put on events and activities to welcome refugees and people seeking asylum in their communities. Football Welcomes began in 2017 with 30 clubs taking part, and by 2019 this had grown to 177.
Amnesty International is now launching a new Football Welcomes Community Project, working with Aston Villa Foundation, Club Doncaster Foundation, Leicester City in the Community, Liverpool County FA and Liverpool FC Foundation and Middlesbrough FC Foundation, to set up ‘community alliances’ with other local organisations including refugee groups, charities, amateur football teams, fans’ groups, schools and others.
The Football Welcomes Activity Pack (for 7-14 year olds) aims to support teachers to encourage discussion about refugee rights and to celebrate the contribution that people of refugee backgrounds have made to the UK, especially to football.
Goal Click is a global media and photography social enterprise that helps people understand one another through football. It aims to give people all over the world a chance to show what football means to them, by sending analogue cameras to people around the globe.
Refugee Week 2020 saw the launch of Goal Click Refugees, a collaboration with UNHCR which produced a unique series documenting the personal stories and experiences of refugees and asylum-seekers across the globe through the lens of football.
The Refugee Week ‘Slow Conference’ is a series of free online workshops on arts and culture for change, 04 February – 11 March. Click here to see the full programme and sign up.
We are gathering clips and resources from throughout the Refugee Week Slow Conference here.