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FC United supporters to highlight refugees' plight at Corby Town game

Many FC United fans have been struck by the desperate plight of the refugees dying in the Mediterranean attempting to escape the most incomprehensible suffering experienced in their own countries. Many, many more are not able to escape the wars that rage around them to even attempt such a journey. They are dying in their thousands amidst or trying to escape unimaginable horrors.

Many judge that their only option is to attempt dangerous journeys over land and sea. As we have seen in the pictures last week of the young dead boy washed up on a Turkish beach, a huge number of these journeys are ending in the deaths of people whose lives have been torn apart by situations over which they have no control.

At FC United’s home game versus Corby Town on 12 September, a group of supporters are organising a visual display designed to support and publicise the plight of refugees across the world. FC United has long had a policy for standing by those less fortunate than ourselves in Manchester as well as reaching out to those newly arrived in our city. Our community programme has used sport and football in particular to help integrate and alleviate the complex issues faced by refugee and migrant communities in Manchester and beyond. The action on Saturday is being repeated by fans at other clubs including Aston Villa and Charlton Athletic in England and Glasgow Celtic in Scotland as well as other clubs across Europe, most notably in Germany. The hope is that this display will encourage other clubs throughout football and in other sports to also show their support, which will then in turn prompt supporters and onlookers to take direct action to improve the situation in some way.

Clearly this alone is insufficient action for a community-centric club like FC United to be taking. Therefore, supporters have been in contact with Refugee Action - http://www.refugee-action.org.uk - a charity which has been helping refugees for over 30 years, regarding a collection of food, clothing and materials which can be used for shelter. Refugee Action are currently working with other organisations who will arrange delivery of any donated items to those who need it, including in those in camps in Calais.

The part that you can play in helping refugees is small but significant. We are asking any FC United supporters who attend the game against Corby Town on 12 September to bring with them and donate any of the following;

- Tinned and dried food including rice, flour, sugar.
- Blankets, sleeping bags and bedding
- Warm clothing - clean and practical
- Tents and camping equipment
- Sanitary items, anti- bacterial products and basic toiletries

There will be a collection point set up outside the ground manned by FC United volunteers. Please look in your cupboards before leaving for the game on Saturday and bring with you anything which you think might make a difference to someone somewhere who has been displaced by war or persecution. No donation is too small to people who have nothing.

In addition to the display and collection the club will be donating 15 tickets to Manchester Refugee Support Network - http://www.mrsn.org.uk - a long established local charity, providing a variety of services aimed at helping the lives of families within the local refugee community. These tickets will be for distribution to people they are actively helping. Whilst this does not change what is happening way outside Manchester, we hope that this is a small way of demonstrating that the club and its supporters continues to support refugees wherever possible building on the outreach work the club has done since being formed in 2005.

The refugee situation across Europe is fast-moving and the requirement for ordinary people across the continent to dig deep and help will only grow. We all see images daily, especially via social media such as Facebook and Twitter, of the real suffering that is endured. It is very easy to share posts and express our concern and outrage when replying to these posts and whilst this does help publicise what is happening and keep it in the public consciousness, the true impact on refugees is limited. So please do something genuinely worthwhile and bring something with you to the Corby game which will relieve the suffering of these desperate people.

If you can volunteer your help or services, please email FC United at community@fc-utd.co.ukand someone will get in touch.

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First Posted ~ 13:40 Tue 8 Sep 2015
News ID ~ 6363
Last Updated ~ 13:46 Tue 8 Sep 2015