As it is World Refugee Week, we are shining the light on the work the organisation does to assist refugees.
For just over a year, the Scottish FA has been supporting projects that help refugees across the country.
One such initiative takes place within the Scottish FA West Region, where, through partnerships with a number of local authorities, football acts as a vehicle to help refugees integrate into the local community they live in.
At present the Scottish FA run sessions in Paisley every Saturday morning as part of a partnership with Renfrewshire Council, Barnardo’s Scotland and the Children’s Charity.
This type of working partnership is crucial to the success of the footballing programme, as it ensures all relevant parties are present to help provide the young people who take part, the best opportunity for integration into their local community.
Each Saturday morning players come to the free hour-long sessions and work with Scottish FA qualified coaches.
The long-term aim of the project is to provide the young people participating with a level of confidence and social skills to allow integration into their community and, from a footballing sense, into Scottish FA grassroots clubs.
Speaking about the project, Scottish FA Diversity & Inclusion Officer for the West Region, Gary Macdonald commented: “It’s important to recognise football has to reflect the demographics of the country. Our country is changing and becoming more diverse and it’s our job to ensure that football keeps up with that.
“It can be hard for these young players coming to Scotland and not knowing anyone or the language.
“Football is often known as the universal language and we need to use that as an opportunity to create football for all.”
Kate Orr from Barnardo’s Scotland said: “This project, supported by Barnardo’s Scotland volunteers, has been running for over a year now and has been a great success.
“It has been wonderful to witness the players confidence and skillset grow over the last few months.
“It’s a great opportunity for the young people to get to know their local community and meet other young people from Renfrewshire.”
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