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.

Volunteers Needed For Rugby League World Cup

TEES VALLEY Mayor Ben Houchen is backing calls by the Rugby League World Cup 2021 for local people to join “The Power Squad” of volunteers to help make the event a huge success.

The call came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a roadmap to come out of lockdown, which includes a target to lift all limits on social contact by June 21, with stadiums returning to full capacity ahead of the tournament.

Boro’s Riverside Stadium is hosting the match between the Cook Islands and Tonga at 2.30pm on Sunday 7 November 2021, and applications are now open for people to join the pre-tournament preparations or to help out on the match day itself.

Roles will include wayfinders and stewards, information givers and event facilitators across the Tees Valley’s five boroughs, including at the Cook Islands’ training base at Darlington’s Mowden Park, with the action focusing on Middlesbrough in the run-up to the big day. Should any coronavirus restrictions still be in place, volunteers will be briefed and these will be followed.

The Cook Islands take their name from Middlesbrough-born Captain James Cook, who visited many of the nation’s southern islands. The team will be based in at Darlington’s Rockliffe Hall from October 16 while they compete in the competition.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is your chance to be a part of one of the first big events that will be taking place in the region when national coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in the summer.

“For the first time in more than a year, we will be able to come together to celebrate and be part of something really exciting. I know at the top of many people’s lists is to be able to go to see live sport again and rugby league is growing in popularity right across the region.

“The tournament will attract people from far and wide to our area giving our hospitality sector and tourist economy a much-needed shot in the arm following the difficulties they have faced over the past 12 months.

“We were building up a huge momentum in securing top events before the pandemic, with concerts by the likes of Take That and the BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and this will kick-start the next phase of us attracting even more.

“I’d encourage local people from across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to volunteer to help make this a massive success but, most importantly, to have fun after a hard year.”

Applications close on 23 April, with a selection process taking place between May and July and training to be provided during August and September. General tickets are due to go on sale at the end of March with group sales available now.

For more details, visit