WHILST there was disappointment on the field last Saturday there was a great sense of connection and goodwill off it as QPR hosted 20 refugees for a fun football day at Loftus Road.
Teaming up with Amnesty International UK and Nottingham Forest Community Trust for 'Football Welcomes' weekend, Rangers gave refugees from all over the world including Syria, Ghana and Sierra Leone the opportunity to watch their first ever football match.
Nottingham Forest very kindly also contributed to the day – bringing down ten refugees from their local area who faced off against the ones from QPR in a little game before the main event.
The day also included a stadium tour, a few media duties with Sky News, taking part in the pre-game on field match routine and the refugees enjoying time to socialise with each other, embrace different cultures and learn more about the heritage of football in this country.
Francis Aderiye, Youth & Communities Officer for the QPR Trust, has been coaching the refugees for the last six months as part of our partnership with Roots UK.
He oversees a session once a week at Wembley and has developed a hugely positive relationship with a segment of society who are simply trying to make a better life for themselves in a country thousands of miles away from their place of birth.
Francis played a major role in putting together the Football Welcomes Day and explained to www.qpr.co.uk just why it’s so important we continue to develop these kinds of projects.
He said: “It was a pleasure to be a part of, especially seeing their big smiles and enjoyment of being at a game. It was a special day as we have planned this for a while and everything went really smoothly – it was a day that they won’t forget for a good while.
“To have an initiative that supports those who have endured a difficult time is something that makes me proud of the work we do at QPR and why people in the community can also look to us for help.”
He added: "I hope to do it again next year, we just want to continue our partnership with Amnesty International UK and any other clubs that want to get involved with what we are doing.”
Amnesty International UK are ordinary people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. You can find out more about them HERE.