On Saturday 22 June, the Refugee World Cup took place in Albert Park, Salford. Attendees enjoyed a free picnic, music, a bouncy castle, face painting, henna, a raffle draw and a fire engine parade, whilst teams of football players from Greater Manchester competed for the coveted trophy.
First held in 2000, the Refugee World Cup began as a way to welcome people from Kosovo who had fled the conflict in the Balkans. The event is organised by Manchester Refugee Support Network (MRSN) and Art Reach, in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Refugee Support Partnership (GMRSP) – a partnership between charities British Red Cross, Refugee Action, Rainbow Haven and Revive. The tournament brings together teams of people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds with long-term residents and anyone is welcome to go along and watch .
The University’s involvement was coordinated by Lynda Shentall. Lynda joined the University of Salford as a lecturer in January 2019 and prior to this worked across the refugee sector in Manchester. Lynda was keen for the social work department to be involved in the event: “Many of our social work students past and present have had placements in the Refugee Sector. Agencies that we regularly place students with, such as Revive and Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit also had stalls at the event. Also, as the event was taking place in Salford it seemed logical that we would support it!”
Alongside staff, BA Social Work students helped out on the day and one student, Marcus Abrahams, offered reiki sessions. Raffle prizes were collected for the event and additional donations made to Revive, a community project which provides free practical support, services and advocacy for refugees and people seeking asylum, in Manchester and Salford.
The event was a huge success and we hope that the University can get involved next year with an even bigger stall!