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Gordon sees how Newcastle help refugees settle

7 May 2023

Newcastle United forward visits club foundation's 'Welcome Through Football' programme

The Newcastle United forward Anthony Gordon saw how the club help recently arrived refugees, migrants and young people seeking sanctuary when he spent an afternoon getting to know Newcastle United Foundation’s community.

At NUCASTLE, the Foundation’s home, Gordon met and chatted to participants from all over the world who are making a new home and a new life for themselves in the North East.

The Foundation’s "Welcome Through Football" programme provides a unique opportunity to assist the integration and inclusion of young refugees, asylum seekers and people with a migrant background united by a shared passion for football.

“Everyone here is from different places across the world – it shows to me how much of a family city Newcastle is because everyone here is made to feel right at home," Gordon said.

“At this session, the participants get to come here, have fun with friends and play football and that’s what life is about.”

Gordon also met Ish Bamba, an NU Futures project officer at the Foundation, who helps facilitate specialist sessions for recently arrived refugees, migrants and young people seeking sanctuary.

Bamba moved to Newcastle in 2006 as a child, escaping conflict during the first Ivorian civil war. He made friends and found comfort in attending the Foundation's Premier League Kicks sessions, where he enjoyed free, supervised football with Foundation coaches.

As a teenager, Bamba began volunteering at Premier League Kicks and was then employed as a community coach with the Foundation.

“When I first came here, it was a great change for me," he said. "I loved it and I met new people through the Foundation so I can relate to a lot of the participants we support.

“Everyone has a different journey, but the goal is always the same – it’s all about being free and being able to better yourself.

“We have a huge amount of diversity in terms of backgrounds, it’s great to see the participants coming along together to use football to break down barriers.”

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