Notts County Football in the Community (FITC) currently run a refugee project, in partnership with the British Red Cross and Nottingham Refugee Forum, aimed at integrating refugees and asylum seekers into British life by providing them with free weekly football sessions, to allow them to keep fit, make friends and feel part of the local community in order to reduce social isolation.
Our project helps Refugees feel at home in Nottingham and welcomed by their local football club, Notts County FC. As it is a universal language, we use football as the magnet and have a wider impact, such as improving refugees’ physical and mental health, as well as ensuring they feel less isolated.
We’ve worked with over 100 refugees and asylum seekers from many different countries with the numbers steadily increasing. The project is going from strength to strength and we are developing the project to include English language lessons.
The main positive outcomes, to date, are around:
- Bringing people together to play football
- Promoting the cultural, social, health and educational benefits of participating in all forms of football
- Gives them a sense of belonging, feeling part of the community
- Social interaction and inclusion – being welcomed to Nottingham
- Providing a relaxed, welcoming environment to play a sport they love
- Improving health and well-being – mental and physical (increased self-esteem, confidence)
- Football used to breakdown language barriers amongst participants
- Increasing fitness
- Improving football skills
- Learning English
- Many are unable to work due to their status so providing a free, accessible project
- Having fun at a difficult time in their lives
- Allows participants to “switch off” from their day to day issues