Updated: Oct 12
AFC Fylde Community Foundation’s Football Welcomes project, in partnership with Fylde Council, Lancashire County Council and Amnesty International, supports refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the borough.
Since August 2021, the Foundation have offered weekly football and sports sessions, opportunities to play competitive fixtures and visit local attractions to support with integration into the local Fylde area.
One individual who has benefitted from taking part in our Football Welcomes project is Mohammed Hashim, who arrived in Kirkham in August 2021, as a refugee from Sudan.
It was clear that Mohammed and others in a similar position required support with accessing and integrating into the local community – he now attends every session which take place on Tuesdays between 5pm-6pm at Fylde Sports and Education Centre.
Acknowledging the power of football and how it can connect people in a number of ways, working alongside local partners, the Foundation’s Football Welcomes project has supported 44 refugees this year.
Mohammed said: “I love football and did not have anywhere to play or have any clothing to wear in the beginning, until Football Welcomes offered me everything and I appreciate it.”
The group have since visited the National Football Museum in Manchester, played in tournaments against other clubs in the North West, and attended AFC Fylde first-team fixtures.
“It makes me happy and I feel that I’m welcome here, and have made new friends, improve my language skills and it opens life doors for me to find my way into the future," Mohammed continued.
“As a refugee, I’ve found the people and the help that I’ve needed in Kirkham. They welcomed me and offered me a place to play football and do other activities I want to do. Refugees are welcome and I want to share this happiness with others.”
“Since you welcomed me at AFC Fylde Community Foundation, I feel like I’m home and when other people come to play, I feel like I’m part of the place. Thank you so much for everything.”
Scott Harries, Community Development Officer at AFC Fylde Community Foundation, added: “It’s great to see the lads come down and enjoy our Football Welcomes sessions.
“We have seen their confidence grow as they have settled into the local area, and it shows that the power of football can bring people together.”
AFC Fylde’s first-team squad have supported our Football Welcomes project through wearing shirts during the warm-ups ahead of fixtures.