Derby County Football Club is joining football clubs across the country this month to welcome refugees and people seeking asylum, as part of Amnesty International’s Football Welcomes campaign.
Now in its fifth year, Football Welcomes celebrates the contribution players from a refugee background make to the game and highlights the role football can play in bringing people together and creating more welcoming communities for refugees.
Football Welcomes this year coincides with the return of grassroots sport, which provides a much-needed opportunity for people to reconnect with each other and their communities and to improve mental and physical health.
To mark the month, which is supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Derby County is continuing to offer local sessions in partnership with the Derby Refugee Advice Centre and others to support refugees to take part in physical to help their integration into their new homes.
Gavin Lewis, Inclusion Development Manager at Derby County Community Trust, said: “Supporting refugees and those seeking asylum within Derby is an integral part of our Inclusion offer. Football is a universal language and helps us break down so many barriers.”
Derby County is one of many clubs from across the Premier League, English Football League, FA Women’s Super League, Championship and National League, Cymru North and South, and grassroots teams that have signed up to take part in Football Welcomes.
Some will organise a training session, a match or Soccercise classes for refugees, some will incorporate learning about refugee rights into their work in schools, while others will have first team players warming up in Football Welcomes t-shirts and help to raise awareness online.
Naomi Westland, Movement Building Manager at Amnesty International UK, said:“With the long-awaited return of outdoor activities, we are excited to see the commitment from the footballing community to come together and welcome refugees.
“Clubs like Derby County are at the heart of their communities and football can be powerful force for good, bringing people together and a providing a sense of purpose and belonging. For those who’ve fled conflict and persecution and had to leave everything behind, this is incredibly important.
“It’s heartening to see football clubs across the country doing great work in their communities to show there is more that unites us than divides us.”