Summary: Weekly football sessions for asylum seekers, refugees and local youth
Where: Sheffield, UK
Collaborators: FURD, U-Mix Centre, Sheffield
Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) hosts weekly football sessions at the U-Mix Centre in Sheffield for asylum seekers and refugees, and local youth more broadly, to promote social inclusion and understanding between different communities. FURD believes that “football, as the world’s most popular sport, can help break down barriers created by ignorance or prejudice, and bring together people from different backgrounds to play, watch and enjoy the game”.
Wednesday U-Mix sessions gather a diverse mixture of users: younger and older experienced players and beginners (though, sadly, efforts to attract women haven’t worked out yet). Around 15 people usually turn up and join in. According to one of the regular members of the group, Wednesday sessions are a great way for newcomers to establish a network of friends in Sheffield and learn about other events and activities going on in the city. Football exercises allow refugees and asylum seekers to undertake a structured physical activity outdoors — irrespective of the weather. Playing football provides a helpful escape from everyday worries. After a game, all participants are welcome to lunch — a friendly way to continue informal discussions, about football and beyond, and develop new friendships and connections.