Anfield dream comes true for local refugees

LFC FOUNDATION COUNTY FA REFUGEES

LFC Foundation welcomed more than 120 local young refugees to Anfield on Wednesday evening for a special opportunity to play on the pitch at the stadium.

The Reds’ official charity organised the unique event to reach out to local, young refugees and encourage them to attend its free Premier League Kicks sessions that take place at different locations in the city, in order to help them settle into their new surroundings.

Thirty young people from the local area who regularly attend PL Kicks sessions were also invited, and teams were mixed to ensure engagement between the individuals, breaking down barriers and helping refugees to integrate into the local community.

Tony Cosgrove, project lead at LFC Foundation, said: “When kids are playing football, language, culture and background doesn’t matter, that’s why the sport is so invaluable when helping kids to socialise and integrate.

“Today has been a fantastic experience for all involved, and we hope to see some of the young people from today coming along to our Kicks sessions in the future, where they can enjoy playing football in a fun, inclusive environment.”

The opportunity to play on the pitch was provided by LFC’s official money transfer partner, Western Union, which shares the values of LFC Foundation, which aims to improve the lives of young people in Merseyside and beyond.

Jacob Vierra, a 22-year-old from Kenya who has lived in Liverpool for four years, said: “I’m a fan of Liverpool Football Club, so this is an amazing experience for me. I’ve had lots of fun and hope to keep playing in the future.”

Western Union has a long history of supporting those who have been displaced around the world, setting up numerous business, charity and employee engagement initiatives to support refugees.

Graham Baker, UK and Ireland country director at Western Union, said: “Western Union is guided by a purpose of moving money for better, and living our purpose also means giving on matters that are critical to the communities we serve.

“Well-managed integration of refugees can help magnify the opportunities for the host communities and for refugees from a societal, economic and personal perspective. We want refugees to be able to participate fully in the local and global economy, and help them advance their skills in their new countries.”

To organise the unique event, LFC Foundation worked closely with Liverpool FA and Liverpool City Council, who contacted the young refugees and invited them to Anfield.