Clubs discuss outcomes of Welcome through Football
EFDN members Apollon FC, Everton in the Community, FC Emmen, KAA Gent Foundation and Werder Bremen met in Barcelona for the 3rd Welcome through Football seminar. All 5 participating clubs shared their experiences and the outcomes that they observed throughout the last months.
Welcome through Football aims to promote the integration of (young) refugees in their new communities. The involved clubs from Cyprus, England, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany used the Pan-European programme to share their expertise, ideas and best practices. After delivering the programme in their local communities, all clubs gathered at Camp Nou, Barcelona to discuss challenges, outcomes, and future actions.
Therefore, the staff members of each club presented a project summary describing the objectives, preparations, implementation and partnerships. Furthermore, the project managers explained challenges that they had to overcome before, during and after the project. For instance, the involved coaches and project managers had to deal with a language barrier, cultural differences and limited access to training facilities. However, all clubs developed strategies to overcome these challenges. Recommendations for clubs that want to start projects with refugees in the future were presented during the seminar in Barcelona. The clubs recommended, for example, to collaborate with external organisations and partners, to take enough time to talk about other topics than football and to empower refugees to be coaches or volunteers.
Finally, representatives of Apollon FC, Everton in the Community, FC Emmen, KAA Gent Foundation and Werder Bremen presented the outcomes and impact of their projects. A number of participants joined grassroots clubs or non-league football teams, others went on to further education. The projects brought the participants closer to the local communities and created, for example, bonds between players and parents of participants. Due to the measured impact and the positive feedback of the participants, all clubs strive to implement the project also next year. The participating clubs used the opportunity to talk about the next steps and further collaboration at the European level.