Burnley Football Club and Burnley FC in the Community are joining football clubs across the country this month to welcome refugees and people seeking asylum, as part of Amnesty International’s Football Welcomes campaign.
The campaign is now in its fifth year and celebrates the contribution players from a refugee background make to the game as well as highlighting the role football can play in bringing people together to create more welcoming communities for refugees.
Football Welcomes comes this year during the biggest refugee crisis Europe has seen since the Second World War. Images and stories of people fleeing Ukraine have once again shown the plight of refugees, the trauma they face when fleeing conflict, and the need for countries and communities around the world to welcome them.
Burnley FC in the Community’s Clarets Welcome programme offers free football sessions every Friday morning for males over the age of 16. The sessions take place between 10am – 11am at The Leisure Box, Northlight, Glen Way, Brierfield, BB9 5NH. Participants from all backgrounds and abilities are welcome to join us.
Our group currently comprises of multiple young men who have settled in Burnley and East Lancashire after becoming displaced from ongoing conflicts across the world. However, we are encouraging participation from any individuals or families that may be new to the area.
At the free football sessions participants get the chance to develop skills, be part of a team and, most importantly, enjoy football in a welcoming environment.
In June, we will host a number of teams with Refugee Football provision from across the Country including Derby County Community Trust, Aston Villa Foundation and Liverpool’s LFC Foundation in a unique National tournament celebrating each Club’s association with welcoming Refugees and new families to their respective areas.
The Clarets are one of many clubs from across the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), 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.
Naomi Westland, Head of Football Welcomes at Amnesty International UK, said:
“The current refugee crisis in Ukraine shines a light on the importance of welcoming refugees wherever they’re from, whether it’s Ukraine, Afghanistan, Eritrea or elsewhere. Football Welcomes is a great initiative to do this.
“It’s heartening to see clubs like Burnley using football as a powerful force for good, bringing people together and a providing a sense of belonging.
“With the support from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, Amnesty will continue to welcome refugees alongside football clubs across the country to show there is more that unites us than divides us.”
For more information on Clarets Welcome, please contact Mike Colquhoun on M.Colquhoun@burnleyfc.com!