The Chelsea Foundation has teamed up with Big Leaf Foundation to deliver weekly football sessions for displaced young people beginning new lives in East Surrey.
The project aims to combat social isolation that has particularly affected young, displaced people who have limited access to support networks, activities, and education.
The sessions, which take place at The Warwick School in Redhill, also help respond to the specific psychosocial and psychological needs of young people who have who have experienced the trauma of forced displacement.
Chelsea Foundation has also invited refugees to our Premier League Kicks programme sessions at Eel Brook Common to give them the opportunity to play football and meet young people from similar backgrounds. Together with Fulham Foundation and Hammersmith and Fulham Council, we have donated boots to the young refugees who are attending the Kicks sessions.
Chelsea Foundation officer Ben Mitchell said: ‘Being able to support programmes such as this one with Big Leaf Foundation really connects with our values as a football club.
‘By doing the right thing and giving these young, displaced people the chance to play the game of football, and to use the power of the sport to connect, engage and make them feel like they can express themselves in a fun, safe environment and feel part of a community, is a real pleasure to be involved with.’
Ben Munro, Big Leaf Foundation programme manager said: ‘Big Leaf Foundation (BLF) are delighted to join forces with Chelsea FC Foundation to deliver weekly football sessions for our displaced young people beginning their new lives in East Surrey.
‘These one-and-half-hour long sessions will run every Wednesday from 28 April at the Warwick School in Redhill and will be delivered by one of the Chelsea Foundation coaches. The BLF team will also be there to support young people with language and provide them with opportunity to discuss any concerns that may be affecting their general well-being.
‘Whilst the sessions will currently be limited to on-field training, our aim is to expand the project to include ESOL classes where players will learn English through football, with our BLF teachers and Chelsea coaches supporting them learn vocabulary, develop their communications skills and understanding of strategies, as well as helping form the foundations of a team.’
Chelsea Foundation senior social inclusion officer Callum Salhotra added: 'To help support our refugee groups is really important. Playing football is something that is recognised all across the world so by attending this session makes them feel at home. They also are able to improve their English and hopefully become more engaged within their community.'