MORE Refugees in Suffolk have benefited from the generosity of local clubs.
Suffolk FA held a Kit-Out Day for Refugees in the Ipswich area.
Kit and equipment donations were made by Ipswich-based Coplestonians FC, Mutford & Wrentham FC & Suffolk Community Boot Room.
Suffolk FA Football Development Officer (Growth) Kirsty Smith said: “Last year we delivered our first ever Football Welcomes event working with some Refugees in the county and this was a huge success, so we wanted to try replicate it again this year.
“We have been working with a wide range of refugees in different communities over the last 12 months and most of these were struggling for sports kit and equipment.
“Therefore, we wanted to reach out and support them with a kit out day in order to provide them with the correct kit/equipment so they can play the game they love safely.
“We as a County FA believe It’s essential that we use football as a tool to help refugees integrate into the local community and to also give them something to look forward to.
“Being able to physically exercise and socialise with their friends is vital for their mental health and wellbeing. It’s clear that football is a powerful force for good, bringing people together and providing a sense of belonging, and we were delighted to be able to support where we can.
“Football and the clubs are at the heart of their communities and can play an important role in creating respect and friendship across cultures. We are aware that times are very difficult for everyone at the minute in the current financial climate but if any grassroots club/team/players do have any spare kit, football boots, shin pads, goalkeeper gloves etc that they could donate – it would be greatly received.
“Hopefully this is the first of many refugee projects and initiatives we can deliver over the next few seasons working in partnership with grassroots clubs.”
Refugees are pictured above enjoying a game in their new kit and boots. Main photograph: Suffolk FA Football Development Officer (Growth) Kirsty Smith (far left) is pictured with the Refugees in their new kit donated by Suffolk football clubs
Rachel Bond, Sports & Health Activities Co-ordinator for Suffolk Refugee Support, said: “Thank you to Kirsty Smith from Suffolk FA for providing a huge amount of donations of football kit and boots for some of our clients.
“With all shapes, sizes and ages, everyone was so grateful to receive something, even the families with small children. It was a very heartfelt experience so see a particular young boy pick a pair of boots for himself and kiss them!
“Having the correct clothing to play in will give everyone a sense of belonging especially from some of their favourite English football teams but also football boots allows them to play safely with their peers too.
“We look forward to more opportunities with Suffolk FA like this in the future.”