Saturday 28th July 2018 saw the first Lancashire wide asylum seekers football tournament hosted in Blackpool.
The Head of the Syrian Resettlement Programme and Lancashire County Council worked with Blackpool Football Club to organise a tournament, aimed at areas with large numbers of Syrian refugees, allowing the men to feel a sense of community and fun. Skelmersdale managed to gather two teams, each boasting 7 players. The teams were made up of men from Sudan, Eritrea, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. There were also teams representing Burnley, Pendle and Blackpool.
Local supporters gathered too, boosting the matches atmosphere, which was threatening to be dampened by the weather. Due to rain, only two matches were played. The first resulted in a three all draw and second a win to the Skelmersdale team, 6-4.
Cerys Syme-Rumsby, Community Development Worker for West Lancs CVS said of the day “Our trip to Blackpool proved to be a good day out, in spite of the weather. Our football players worked really hard in the rain”
Afterwards, the teams and supporters went to Blackpool centre to enjoy the tourist attractions. It was the first time most people had experienced the traditional seaside culture and the group had fun on the pier as well as playing on the slot machines and eating traditional fish and chips with plenty of salt and vinegar.
Let’s hope that next year the weather can lend a hand on making this event a repeated success!