This weekend, Dulwich Hamlet is proud to be taking part in Amnesty International UK's Football Welcomes initiative, which celebrates the lasting contribution refugees have made across our professional game. The official Football Welcomes weekend is scheduled for the end of April when we are away to Weston Super-Mare. Therefore, we are launching this year’s initiative at our home against Hungerford Town.
British football clubs have a long and proud tradition of opening their doors to refugees. Back in 1937, a group of child refugees fleeing the Spanish Civil War came to Southampton and went on to play for Saints, Wolves and Coventry in the 1940s and 50s. More recently, former Bolton Wanderers striker Fabrice Muamba, ex-Manchester City forward Nadia Nadim, Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, Dejan Lovren at Liverpool and Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke have all made their mark on the beautiful game.
Supported by a range of Premier League clubs; the English Football League; the FA Women’s Super League; the Women’s National League and grassroots and non-league teams across the country, Football Welcomes also aims to highlight the important role football clubs can play in welcoming refugees and people seeking asylum into their local communities, and in helping them to settle in to a new country and culture.
As part of the weekend, we have teamed up with two local charities – The Bike Project and Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SDCAS). We are encouraging fans to donate any unwanted bikes which the Bike Project will refurbish and distribute to refugees. We also look forward to welcoming a group of refugees from SDCAS as guests to Champion Hill.
Naomi Westland, Football Welcomes Manager at Amnesty International UK said:
“We are delighted that Dulwich Hamlet is taking part in Football Welcomes. Football clubs are at the heart of their communities and it’s great to see teams across the UK using the international language of football to create connection, respect and friendship across cultures. With so many people across the globe forced to abandon their homes due to conflict and instability, it’s important that football clubs use their platform to send out a clear message: refugees are welcome here.”
By taking part in Football Welcomes, clubs across the country are saying loud and clear that refugees are welcome in the UK. We are proud to be one of them.
Updated 17:33 - 13 Apr 2019 by Liam Hickey