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A grant from the Readman Family Grassroots fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland has helped an amateur football club in Sunderland to support the local community through the sport. Sunderland Samba Football Club was founded in 1999 as a means of doing something positive for young men in the local community. Starting as a small group meeting together to play football in the park, the club quickly grew in size and now has several teams encompassing a large network of players.
They are known for championing inclusivity and welcome players from a diverse group of nationalities and cultures, many of whom are asylum seekers and refugees. The club plays an active role in organising tournaments, promoting anti-racism campaigns, and offering volunteering opportunities for coaches.
Ross Wilson, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation explained the positive role the club plays in bringing people together:
“Sunderland Samba F.C. have cemented their place in the community as a place of hope, welcomed and acceptance. They use football as a means of integrating a diverse range of young people into the community including asylum seekers and refugees. Not only do the club provide opportunities for players to improve their health and mental wellbeing, but they combat social isolation, particularly for those who are new to the country”.
John Boyd from Sunderland Samba described how the grant benefited the club:
“We are extremely grateful to receive the grant of £1,000 from the Readman Family Grassroots Fund towards our ongoing work in the local community. This funding will make a difference in enabling us to continue working with and supporting children and young people, their families, sanctuary seekers and those experiencing isolation through our football and community programmes.
“We have been focusing on ‘Welcome and Wellbeing’ and ‘Becoming a Game Changer’ in all our sessions recently which bring together people from different backgrounds to promote in particular racial and religious harmony”.
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