In this guest blog, our good friends Refugee Resource describe the future plans for the development of a Refugee Football Group in Oxford.

The Refugee Football Group is aimed at refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrant young men in Oxford and Oxfordshire who are finding it difficult to access appropriate mainstream services because of economic, language, cultural or health barriers, including PTSD, anxiety and depression caused by their experiences of conflict and complex trauma. The group aims to reduce isolation, raise self-esteem and empower its members whilst enabling healing and connections.

Sessions will be run on a weekly basis for an hour and half at a local school’s astro turf pitch. This is a secure location where the young people feel safe to enjoy themselves. The sessions will be delivered by an experienced coach from a local football charity supported by the group leader – Refugee Resource’s mentoring and volunteering coordinator who has extensive experience of playing football as well as working with socially excluded groups of young men. As the football group is specialist and therapeutic in nature, a highly experienced RR counsellor will provide clinical support in the form of group observation as well as a reflective practice space for the group leader.

It is hoped that 15-25 young men (aged 20 and under) will be recruited from the client groups of Refugee Resource and Asylum Welcome. A small number of ‘older’ young men in their twenties will also be recruited to volunteer and to be trained up as sports leaders and potentially coaches. Once young men are ready to move on they can be progressed into the Diversity League or one of the local migrant football groups. To support this project, please see here.