Northampton Town 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.
Everyone wants to live in a place where they feel safe and welcome. For people fleeing conflict and persecution, football can play a hugely important role in helping to settle into a new country and culture, to make friends, learn the language and get to know the local area.
Football clubs are at the heart of many communities - they unite people on and off the pitch and give many a sense of belonging. Every April, football clubs across the UK come together to celebrate the contribution players from a refugee background make to the game.
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.
Northampton Town 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.
The Northampton Town Community Trust work in partnership with youth group ‘Learn2Live’, part of Northampton Town of Sanctuary and the University of Northampton Student Action for Refugees (UoN STAR). Participants from the group attended football coaching sessions with community coach Tom Sherratt during last year, as well as took part in a charity football match against a local team.
To mark the month, which is supported by the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, the Northampton Town Community Trust invited the youth group to enjoy a stadium tour at Sixfields on Monday as well as complimentary tickets to Saturday's match. The group also have the opportunity to play on the pitch at half time.
Anna Letts, NTFC Community Trust’s Inclusion Officer said; ”It has been fantastic to welcome this group again and continue our partnership with Leanr2Live. The young people enjoyed their stadium tour and we hope they enjoy the game.”