MFC Foundation have teamed up with the Methodist Asylum Project (MAP) and the North Riding FA to deliver a three-year pilot project funded through Amnesty International aiming to create more welcoming communities for refugees and those seeking asylum in the local area.
The Football Welcomes initiative will see the Foundation offer football and educational provision for those who have sought asylum in Middlesbrough as a result of fleeing war, conflict and the risk of persecution in their home countries.
The participants are from all over the world: Iran, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine and many more. At Football Welcomes, they will get the chance to work together as a team, to develop skills, and remember the fun and sense of belonging which team membership gives.
They will also get a real sense that Middlesbrough, through the football club Foundation, is extending welcome and friendship, which is a priceless feeling for anyone.
The weekly sessions held at the Herlingshaw Centre and other facilities across the Middlesbrough area see male and female participants take part in ESOL provision, football and also receive volunteering opportunities at the Foundation and the football club.
In creating more welcoming communities, the Foundation is looking to create alliances with supporters groups, encouraging regular attendance at sessions and friendly matches throughout the year.