Club Welcome programme for refugees

A new season for some and for others, the season never ends.  The Show Racism the Red Card club welcome programme has been supporting grassroots sports clubs towards integration of refugees/ asylum seekers within their activities.  This progress report will give you an idea of how integration through sport can work.

Ballaghaderreen GAA are one of the clubs involved with the Show Racism the Red Card Club Welcome programme, thanks to Community Foundation of Ireland, to be inclusive of those from refugee/ asylum seeker backgrounds.  Other clubs include Willow Park FC in Athlone, Emo FC Laois, Ballinacurragh GAA club  in Limerick, Sligo Rovers FC and Boot Road Celtic in Clondalkin.

Chairman of Ballaghaderreen GAA Dermot Dillon gives the update:  ‘Work has gone well we have got three young coaches studying sports science coaching the Syrians on the fundamentals and building up rapport with the children. These coaches and volunteers from the community have organised the players to get them to Under 8 blitz away to neighbouring club Western Gaels and to a big home u10 blitz’

As a border club the All Ireland Quarter final between Mayo and Roscommon created a lot of attention in our town. A club member James Gannon was to the fore in organising free tickets and free bus to Croke Park for all Syrian and is featured in the attached video from sponsor

The trip has boosted interest with the teenagers and they have started training with our u18 team’

Karl Brogan explains how Emo FC have been helping support residents in the Montague accommodation centre get active with the club.   ‘Residents from the Montague hotel have been using the facilities in Emo Sportsfield. They have had access to our all weather facility every Saturday morning from 11.30am to 1pm. This has been provided free of charge. They have also had access to our grass pitches for 11 a side games.

The matches on the Saturday morning have been very well attended and have proved to be a great success.  Recognising the circumstances in terms of income, the club have agreed that there will be no registration fee payable by refugees/asylum seekers for underage soccer. ‘.

Sligo Rovers FC have completed the Club Welcome programme.  As well as inviting asylum seekers/ refugees to their games each FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe), they have been coaching residents of Globe House on their astroturf pitch.

Shane Crossans explains: ‘Coaching sessions on the Sligo Rovers astro pitch facility once per week for 10 weeks.  14-20 residents have been participating each week and people are enjoying the sessions’.

Willow Park FC are preparing a club open day and hope to include many residents at the Athlone accommodation centre.

Ballinacurragh GAA club in Limerick are working on their plans and we will post an update.

Boot Road Celtic Clondalkin have involved children from the Towers accommodation centre in their activities.  The club kick started their Club Welcome programme by meeting with residents at Towers to find out what they need. Residents were able to learn about the club and what being involved means.

Subsequent to the meeting residents attended an open coaching evening and children attended the academy, which takes place on Saturday mornings.

The Club Welcome programme will conclude with the presentation of a plaque to each successful participating club to acknowledge their work in supporting integration of refugees through sport.


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