A member of the team at the Liverpool County FA recently formed part of an FA visit to a Jordanian refugee camp to understand the life experiences of those that have fled Syria, and support refugee families back in the United Kingdom.
County FA Football Development Officer, Stuart Carrington, accompanied The FA’s Equality Manager, Kevin Coleman, on the visit to the camp, which currently houses 50,000 Syrian refugees.
In partnership with The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Kevin and Stuart – who currently delivers a football programme to refugees within Merseyside on behalf of Liverpool FA – visited health centres, camp schools and education sessions during their time in Jordan.
On departure, Stuart and Kevin accompanied several Syrian families back to England to share their first tentative steps on British soil.
The visit to Jordan is part of The FA’s Refugee & Football programme, which works with the wider football family to use the game’s power to support refugees and asylum seekers in their integration into their local communities in England. At present, around 7,000 refugees are resettled in England annually from locations including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan.
Globally, there are 65 million refugees, fuelled by an increase in conflict. Over half of that figure are people aged 18 years or under. Whilst 90% of refugees move within their own country, or to a neighbouring country, the small percentage of refugees coming to Europe equates to several million, arriving in countries including Germany, Turkey, Italy, Greece and, to a lesser extent, England.
Efforts to support the integration of these sometimes traumatised people have been varied; however one effective and popular way of doing so is through football. Many organisations are already working in this area, including Premier League clubs, County FAs, grassroots clubs and community groups. The FA is looking to strategically lead on this area, networking, sharing good practice and bringing stakeholders together for a common goal.
Stuart Carrington, Football Development Officer at Liverpool FA, said: “It was a privilege to be asked to go and visit Jordan and see how the process works and to build new relationships. We had the pleasure of meeting some very inspiring people that do some fantastic work within the camps in Jordan. We were made to feel really welcome by everyone we met – and it was a very humbling experience when we met refugees and football coaches in the camp.
“Liverpool FA has a fantastic relationship with Asylum Link in Liverpool and we have worked with over 300 asylum seekers and refugees. We hold football sessions, which have run for the past two years, every Tuesday and Thursday at Jubilee Sports Centre in Kensington between 2.30pm and 3.30pm.”
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