Celebrating New Scots at the Scotland Refugee Festival

20 June 2022

Celebrating New Scots at the Scotland Refugee Festival

Big Hearts is thrilled to be joining a host of community organisations as part of the 2022 Scotland Refugee Festival from 17-26 June. The winner of the More than Football Award 2021 is also a project partner in the Welcome Through Football project.

In a year that’s seen millions of people around the world forced from their homes by conflict or persecution, the festival led by the Scottish Refugee Council, is bringing people from different backgrounds together to celebrate the many ways refugees contribute to life in Scotland.

More than 100 events are set to take place from today. Big Hearts will play their part with two exciting football tournaments next week!

“Less than a year since the launch of our Welcome Through Football project at Tynecastle Park – a first in Scotland – it’s fantastic for Big Hearts to be actively taking part in this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland. Over 30 New Scots involved in our project are getting the chance to travel out of Edinburgh and play football with other young people. The community support we’ve received so far has been outstanding and demonstrates that football is a driving force in helping refugees re-build their life. We would like to thank our trusted partners and particularly the Scottish Refugee Council for their vital support.”

Craig Wilson, Big Hearts’ General Manager 

Representing Scotland, the ‘Big Hearts’ team will see a group of refugee and asylum-seeking young people travel from Edinburgh to Newcastle Upon Tyne for a fantastic day out with other ‘Welcome Through Football’ participants from Everton FC (Liverpool), Newcastle United FC and Sheffield FC. Alongside football activities, the young people will get the chance to enjoy a guided tour of St James Park Stadium and share their stories and experiences around a meal with other members of the community. Welcome Through Football is a social inclusion initiative from the European Football for Development Network funded by the Erasmus programme. This event will see 4 refugee-led football teams compete on the roof-top pitch of the brand-new sport facilities of the Newcastle United Foundation.

This friendly football competition will see News Scots and football fans come together to highlight the power of the game in supporting social inclusion across communities. Big Hearts is teaming up with Jags for Good, the Partick Thistle FC fan-led  initiative aimed at supporting good causes in Glasgow, to offer a great day of sport and show solidarity with refugees and asylum-seekers who made Scotland their new home. The tournament is open to members of the public and will take place at the Garscube Sports Complex of the University of Glasgow. Proceeds will go in aid of the Jags For Good’s fundraiser which supports local charities across Glasgow to remove financial barriers to football.

“Refugee Festival Scotland is an opportunity to celebrate the positive difference that refugees make to our communities and the warm welcome that Scotland offers to people seeking sanctuary. Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to celebrate diversity and share the stories of people who have made Scotland their home. So please join us to make new friends, have fun, and show the world that Scotland welcomes refugees.”

Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council

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