Football For All, a community-based diversity project led by Football For The Community Development Trust in association with the Wellington Phoenix, launched in Wellington on Friday.
Football For All is targeted at refugee families and recent immigrants to the Wellington region and is specifically targeted at families and communities where inclusion is especially important. A specific area of focus is the Muslim community following the events of March 2019.
The programme aims to foster inclusivity, participation and well-being by using sport as a vehicle to help our communities particularly from former refugee and migrant communities to interact with our wider community and build on what we are already doing for our Muslim communities.
It also supports youth and their families - who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience and engage with sport - to attend Wellington Phoenix matches and link with the football family. Wellington Phoenix will oversee the project and use its youth development expertise.
Football For All will ‘scholarship’ 50 children between the ages of five and 17 from ethnic communities into their local football clubs: the programme will pay club subscriptions, all uniform costs, while the football boots have been generously supplied by Wellington Phoenix's footwear partner, New Balance.
Crucially, the aim is to have these children integrated into existing teams, not create new teams exclusively from the communities themselves. Community coordinators have been selected in conjunction with local community groups and the local football clubs in association with Capital Football to ensure we are getting the best people with the right skill sets to execute the programme.
The entire programme will be independently reviewed under a University-sponsored analysis to ensure we can maximise any learnings. The project has been built in consultation with local community groups as listed. They are specialists in the area, and much of the decisions making (eg selecting the local community facilitators) will be made by those within the communities themselves. The project will also help these communities rebound from the restrictions of Covid19 and facilitate some return to normal for their youth.
It offers employment for five community leaders to be coordinators. By fully funding participation, local clubs will benefit from the subscriptions and thereby contribute to their infrastructure costs and keeping those facilities operational.
Football For All is facilitated by Football For the Community Development Trust (FCDT), a Charitable Trust set up to facilitate children from recent immigrant and low socio-economic communities so they can participate in the beautiful game. FCDT's primary funding partner is the Lloyd Morrison Trust.
FCDT Chair David Clarke said the project was a joint effort from many different organisations from around Wellington.
“Football for the Community Development Trust has brought together an amazing group of like-minded groups who want to use football to foster inclusion and diversity in our region.
“The Trustees are extremely grateful to the Lloyd Morrison Trust who is the primary funder and corporate partner New Balance who generously donated the football boots for all the participants.
“We have started with 50 young players this year, but we want to grow this to over 150 in Wellington and then, funding permitting, see how many more young people we can bring into the programme.”
At A Glance
- Football for All launched on 12 June 2020
- 50 participants aged between 5-17 years
- Local football clubs include Lower Hutt AFC, Stokes Valley, Onslow, North Wellington, Wellington United, Karori, Western Suburbs, Miramar, Seatoun.
- Primary funder: Lloyd Morrison Trust. Boot supplier: New Balance NZ. Football club coordination role: Capital Football
- Community organisations involved: Change Makers Refugee Forum, International Muslim Association of New Zealand (overseeing the Wellington regions Mosques), Multicultural Councils of Porirua, Wellington City, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt, Red Cross New Zealand, Wellington Interfaith Council, Sport Wellington, Ignite Sport, Oranga Tamariki, New Zealand Police, Human Rights Commission and the Wellington region's City Councils.