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Community Day Tournament.jpg (Click for full size pop-up)

Community day

In July 1998, Football Unites and Sheffield Youth Service Staff took two teams to play in the Anti-Racist World Cup, held in Montefiorino, Italy. Both the Somali Blades and Sharrow United (then known as the Abbeydale Asian Youth Project) won all their games, before meeting in the final. After a goalless draw, the teams decided to forego a penalty shoot-out and share the winner's title.

Back home in Sharrow, FURD youth worker Tom Collins had the bright idea of replaying the final at Bramall Lane. Once the club agreed, the concept of Community Day was born, involving small-sided games in four quarters of the pitch, 'Streetkick', plus stalls, displays, exhibitions, food and entertainment in the John Street conference suites. The Somali Blades beat Sharrow United 2-0 to win the first Community Cup.

The SUFC/FURD Community Day has been praised by the national anti-racist campaign, 'Kick It Out' as a model community-based project, and Football Unites has undertaken to disseminate its knowledge, skills and experience to other professional clubs throughout the UK, as part of their 'Stand Up, Speak Up' award.

 

'The attendance was just reward for the hard work that FURD have put into anti-racist work around the club and showed us all what can be achieved by clubs working with local communities. Personally, seeing so many black faces on the pitch, in the stands and other parts of the club, was a breathtaking sight that is rarely in evidence in British stadiums. We will be seeking to publicise the day as a model event that other clubs should follow.'

Piara Powar Kick It Out's project co-ordinator

 

Since 1999 Sheffield United have hosted the Football Unites Community Day, normally on a Sunday afternoon shortly after the end of the season. The Community Day event gets big and better every year, with thousands turning up for a family day out and to celebrate their love of football. The event attracted people from all across the region’s diverse communities.

Hundreds of young people revel in the chance to play in a series of football tournaments held on the famous Bramall Lane pitch, watched eagerly by the crowds of onlookers in the sidelines and seated in the stands. Local schools supply girls and boys teams for the tournaments and sides from the Sharrow, Darnall, Firth Park, Batemoor and Pitsmoor areas of Sheffield are among those who have taken part.

Those children not involved in the tournaments, have the chance to play a match of Streetkick - FURD’s revolutionary portable football pitch. Younger tots can enjoy themselves on the bouncy castle and inflatable slide whilst the children’s clown makes an assortment of balloon animals. In 2005 a group of cheerleaders entertained the crowds with their choreographed acrobatic display.

Inside the stands, entertainment includes live performances featuring DJs, rap crews and dancing workshops. Local community groups set up stalls and exhibitions whilst some specially chosen food stalls provided a taste of something different. The henna painting, hair braiding, beauty therapy, face painting, nail art and Indian head massage all are extremely popular.
 
The biggest success of Community Day is the sheer diversity of the people attending. The Bramall Lane ground sits in the heart of one of Sheffield’s most ethnically mixed neighbourhoods. Attendees of the Community Day feature unsually high proportions of female and ethnic minority groups. Whilst many football clubs are finding it very difficult to engage themselves with local communities, FURD's ongoing partnership with Sheffield United Football Club has helped the Bramall Lane outfit to become more involved and aware of the needs of the local community. 

 

Community Day Clown (Click for full size pop-up)
Bouncy castles and children's entertainers keep the young ones happy.
Streetkick at Community Day (Click for full size pop-up)
Football Unites' mobile football game - Streetkick, at the community day
Asain lads at community day (Click for full size pop-up)
Many youngsters from around the city relish the chance to play in football tournaments on the same pitch where their heros play.
Community Day, inside (Click for full size pop-up)
Diverse activities inside the stands make the community day very popular with local Asian women, a section of the community usually missing from most football grounds.
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