'Football: A Shared Sense of Belonging?' was a 3-year research project funded by the Big Lottery, which ran from 2010 to 2013. The project seeks to increase our understanding about how cultural activities such as football, and sport more widely, can benefit new arrivals to this country in achieving a sense of mutual belonging.
The research was led by Dr Chris Stone but opportunities were available for interested people, in particular those from a refugee background themselves, to take part in the research by sharing their own experiences and talking to others about the issues raised.
The project has its own website which includes further information and case studies. See the link below.
The final report can be downloaded from the link below. A flavour of the research can also be gained from reading the report of the Interim Conference held mid-way through the research project in September 2011. Read the reports below - or you can borrow printed copies from the FURD library. Limited numbers of print copies of both reports are also available - contact FURD if you'd like one.
In 2012, the 'Refugee Footballers in Britain' exhibition was compiled as part of the project, featuring footballers with a refugee background, from Spanish Civil War refugees playing in the 1940s to more recent stars such as Fabrice Muamba. The exhibition was researched and written by FURD's Ruth Johnson and Chris Stone and includes background information about the players' countries of origin and reasons for seeking refuge. It can be viewed online by clicking the link below. The 'hard copy' can be hired from FURD.
From September 2012 to March 2013, a volunteer manager, Tracy Litterick, was employed to engage refugees and aslum-seekers in the project. This has been very successful, with several sessions now running weekly at the U-Mix Centre for participants - known as the 'Belonging Group' - to play football, use the gym, music room and dance studio and to help them to feel more a part of the community. As a result of this, several refugees and asylum-seekers joined FURD staff and trustees at a civic reception at Sheffield Town Hall with Lord Mayor John Campbell in January 2013. Some participants have also taken part in FURD's awareness-raising work in schools by talking to pupils about their experiences.
For more information, or if you're interested in getting involved, please contact FURD via the contact details at the top of this page.