Manor FC – A Home Away From Home

VYD is proud to run the ‘Manor FC’ project that seeks to provide a ‘Home Away from Home‘ for refugees and asylum seekers in Brighton, UK, helping them settle and adapt to their new living environment through providing a welcoming and safe space to play football and socialise.

The ultimate aim of our project is to ensure that our participants are at the heart of the decision-making process and are empowered through learning new skills to adjust and become an active member within their new community.

Why the community needs us

Many of our clients feel isolated and powerless due to their situation, all having fled their country due to fear of persecution and currently facing financial hardships as well as mental health issues. At least 80% have left family members in their home countries and are alone in the UK. Football acts as a universal language that brings people (particularly young men) together regardless of nationality, race or dialect.

As a team sport it represents a chance to socialise, feel welcomed in a community and is an important tool to support one’s mental and physical wellbeing. Furthermore, football provides a combination of fun and light relief as well as structure and professionalism that helps individuals to focus on something positive given the trauma many have faced in their lives. The Covid-19 lockdown has impacted opportunities for physical face-to-face socialising, which can affect more acutely those who are already removed from their familiar support networks. Manor FC provides the safe, fun and social space where social connections can be rebuilt during and after the Covid19 lockdown.

Our impact on the community

We have had over 35 participants take part in our football sessions, with 23 currently active members communicating via our WhatsApp Group. VYD has now facilitated over 25 hour-long football sessions, with an average turnout of 10 participants every week. We have supported individuals from over 11 different countries and a range of religious backgrounds. Another significant learning was that two participants travelled from London to play, one from Worthing and two from Eastbourne. This both shows the desire of individuals but also the lack of opportunities currently available to play football for refugees. One of our clients mentioned the following about our sessions:

‘[T]he players aware of what they’re expecting to learn during the sessions, every thing [is] organized from communication to the pitch, playing environment it’s so positive, [c]oaches use different instructional strategies during the sessions, we learn how to communicate between each other and increase our chemistry through this amazing sport… I hope after this quarantine finishes we get back and play together. I would love if you and the other coach agreed on adding more sessions during the week days.’ OS – Syrian Refugee

We are looking for donations to help make this project sustainable and so we can develop it further into combined sessions that look at class based activity, including art, design, learning English.

What your donation would provide:

£50 – Paying a Professional, FA approved coach to deliver two football sessions for   our participants

£30 – Paying for one classroom based activity

£20 – Providing refreshments and snacks for four sessions

£10 – Providing two weeks of transport costs for one of our clients

If you’d like more information, please contact gary@vydcic.org