Football Welcomes

Refugee group line up for a photo in a football goal

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.

Contact for more details, or ring 01642 767674

Friend Of The Foundation Recreate A Little Bit Of History

Friend of the Foundation Land of Iron have teamed up with Redcar Athletic Football Club to create the inaugural Steel & Iron Cup in Redcar.

With support from Tees Valley Combined Authority, the event, at Redcar Athletic’s Green Lane ground, will run on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th July 2024.

The idea stems from a conversation between staff at Land of Iron and Redcar Athletic around the historic Bury Cup – a football tournament at Skinningrove’s ironworks which ran from 1912 until 1972 between teams from former and current iron and steelworking communities.

With a firm focus on industrial heritage, and how sport and recreation played a large part within iron and steel communities, this year the pre-season trophy will be contested between Redcar Athletic and Barrow-in-Furness’ Holker Old Boys on Saturday 20th July at 1pm.

Holker Old Boys were formed in 1936 and are based in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. With a long tradition of iron mining and steelmaking in the area, they were the perfect choice for this inaugural fixture between the east coast and west coast teams.

On Friday 19th July a free Heritage day will take place at Redcar Athletic with music, stalls, and family activities. Land of Iron’s Mine on the Move display, Teesside Archives, British Steel, Teesworks, Unite the Union, Community Union, and MFC Foundation – including an appearance by Middlesbrough FC’s Roary the Lion. Doors will open to the public at 3pm with a range of activities running until 6pm.

From 7pm, a panel of experts on industrial heritage will take part in a discussion around iron and steel making on Teesside, how our industry helped build the infrastructure of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries, and how our shared heritage feeds into the future of industry on Teesside today and into the future.

A chance conversation between Ryan McKnight, Managing Director of Redcar Athletic and Nick Wesson, Marketing Manager at Land of Iron began the whole process. For Land of Iron, the chance to work with Redcar Athletic on such an exciting project was too good an opportunity to turn down.

Marie Woods, Chief Executive of Land of Iron, said: “Since Land of Iron re-opened to the public in 2023, we have reached out to, and worked with, our community as much as possible. Our aims are not only to preserve our iron and steel heritage for future generations, but to engage people with our local history in different and new ways. Partnering with Redcar Athletic to create the Steel & Iron Cup is a brilliant way for us to make history relevant to more people and to celebrate the social history of our area too.”

Ryan McKnight, Chief Executive of Redcar Athletic Football Club added: “Redcar Athletic are The Steelmen and this launch event is hopefully the start of a fantastic annual event that will celebrate the heritage of our steel making and iron mining history.

“We are grateful to Holker Old Boys of Barrow – a town which has a proud steel making history of its own – for supporting the weekend.

“We’re calling on everyone with a direct or family connection to the steel works or iron mining – and if you don’t, come and find out more about our local history – to come down to Green Lane on the 19th and the 20th July as it will be a fantastic event.”

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen commented: “Our area has an incredible industrial heritage and is it important we pay tribute to that history as we also look forward. The Steel and Iron Cup is a fantastic way of celebrating that past and I look forward to this being the start of a great annual event bringing together steel communities from across the country.”

The Steel & Iron Cup football match will take place between Redcar Athletic and Holker Old Boys at 3pm on Saturday 20th July and will also feature stalls and entertainment at the ground from 12pm. Entry is £5 adults / £3 concessions / £2 under-16s. Tickets can be purchased on the day.

Entertainment on Friday 19th is free of charge.