Bristol Rovers Women’s is joining football clubs across the country this month (April) 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.
Football Welcomes this year coincides with the return of grassroots sport as lockdown rules ease, which provides a much-needed opportunity for people to reconnect with each other and their communities and to improve mental and physical health.
To mark the month, which is supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Bristol Rovers Community Trust will be working with Bristol Rovers by raising awareness within our fan base and community. Both men’s and women’s teams will be wearing the Amnesty ‘Football Welcomes’ T-Shirts at a selected home-math in April and we will proudly be displaying the a ‘Football Welcomes’ banner on match-days throughout the Month.
Bristol Rovers Women’s is one of the 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.
Some will organise a training session, a match or Soccercise classes for refugees, some will incorporate learning about refugee rights into their work in schools, while others will have first team players warming up in Football Welcomes t-shirts and help to raise awareness online.
Naomi Westland, Movement Building Manager at Amnesty International UK, said:
“With the long-awaited return of outdoor activities, we are excited to see the commitment from the footballing community to come together and welcome refugees. “Clubs like Bristol Rovers are at the heart of their communities and football can be powerful force for good, bringing people together and a providing a sense of purpose and belonging. For those who’ve fled conflict and persecution and had to leave everything behind, this is incredibly important.”
“It’s heartening to see football clubs across the country doing great work in their communities to show there is more that unites us than divides us.”
Matthew Davies, Co-Founder and Club Secretary, said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting the ‘Football Welcomes’ initiative throughout April. Bristol Rovers and Bristol Rovers Women’s is fully focused on our work within the community and being able to provide opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background. In the future we hope to work with Amnesty International throughout the year to be able to support the refugee community in Bristol.”
(reproduced with the kind permission of Bristol Rovers Womens’ FC)