Chelsea FC Foundation’s youth inclusion team delivers a weekly football session at Westway Sports Centre for refugees and asylum seekers based at various hotels across west London.
The programme was developed by both Chelsea Foundation and QPR Community Trust, with Hammersmith & Fulham and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The project has been running since October 2021 as part of the Afghan response initiative, however participants from all nationalities have taken part in the programme.
The project concluded on 31 March with a football tournament and careers fair, where participants aged 16-30 received guidance on employment and education opportunities locally.
A number of organisations attended the event, including LMP Education, SPEAR, Groundwork, Ingeus UK and Compass Group. Representatives from the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade also attended to give advice to the participants.
Tony Rodriguez, Chelsea Foundation’s social inclusion officer, said: ‘This has been great example of how football can break barriers and bring people together.
‘The programme has had such a positive impact on these young men who have experienced the most challenging circumstances.’
Eva Schumacher Payne, a volunteer on the initiative, added: ‘I cannot praise Chelsea Foundation, QPR Trust and Westway Trust enough for their support of refugee football.‘The participants have grown steadily, and the programme has provided so many young men with a moral boost helping them with integration in the community.’