Football match organised on World Refugee Day

A football match featuring refugees based in North Derbyshire was organised by Chesterfield FC Community Trust, Stand Up to Racism in Chesterfield and Central England Co-op to mark World Refugee Day.

Speaking at the event at Gosforth Fields in Dronfield, John Croot, CEO of the Trust and Chesterfield FC, said: “It was great to put on an event like this on World Refugee Day. 

“The links the Trust make in the community are being shown again. As a club, we encourage diversity and it is great to welcome people who are looking for a home in this country.”

Jeannie Robinson, who is the secretary of Stand Up to Racism in Chesterfield and also part of the North Derbyshire Refugee Support Group, said: “About two months ago, we were told that a little hotel in Chesterfield was going to be opened up to asylum seekers. People who’d come over from Calais to Dover were going to be housed there. Because we’d had links with a charity called Care for Calais, they contacted us to see if we could help.

“As asylum seekers, they’re not allowed to work. They’re housed and fed, so there’s a prospect of 60-70 people in a hotel, having nothing to do. We’ve been busy as a charity, raising money, getting them clothes and then thinking what would entertain them. We had the idea of approaching the football club, who were fantastic and straight away suggested this event.”

Barbara Sansome, treasurer of the North Derbyshire Refugee Support Group and Stand Up to Racism, said: “We try to do something every year to educate the public about the position of refugees in the world. That was the reason that we suggested to the football club that we choose World Refugee Day for the football game. 

“We had a very wide range of nationalities on the pitch. Hassan, who is one of our volunteers, has been taking them to play football at Stand Road every Sunday. I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to the football club for welcoming them.”

Ollie Pardo, an active Central England Co-op member who supports community activities, arranged for refreshments to be made available on the day. He said: “Central England Co-op are delighted to be involved with World Refugee Day. 

“When I spoke to them through the Community Membership team, they said they’d be very happy to provide half-time refreshments, so I collected a large quantity of very healthy snacks and delivered them.”