|Football brings people together
People from lots of different communities came together to play football in the Together Cup, a tournament organised by Wigan Council, Wigan Athletic Community Trust and Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles.
Councillor Chris Ready, portfolio holder for communities and neighbourhoods, says,
‘The tournament was all about building positive community relations through football, bringing people together and encouraging respect for each other. It was a superb event. There were people involved who originally come from countries all over the world, people of all different ages and abilities, and everyone had a smile on their face. October is black history month so it’s an appropriate time to provide opportunities to work together to build stronger communities. ’
Nineteen teams from lots of different community organisations took part including Support for Wigan Arrivals (SWAP), Leigh Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support (LASARS), homeless support charity, The Brick, drug and alcohol charity, Addaction, charity Ability Counts, for adults with disabilities, a team of elected members from Wigan Council and young people representing RECLAIM project and Wigan Council’s youth groups Leigh Youth Voice and Global Friends. A youth team from West Bromwich, who had travelled to Wigan for the Wigan Athletic v’s West Bromwich Albion match, also got involved.
Jonathan Jackson, Wigan Athletic Chief Executive, says,
‘The event brought together so many different communities from across Wigan Borough, which was great as it gave them all an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends, while also playing competitive football.
‘To then be able to welcome participants to our first team fixture against West Bromwich Albion later that afternoon was brilliant because for a number of them it was their first experience of watching a professional football fixture in a live environment.’
Giulia Kelemen, 12, from Leigh, is originally from Romania. She says,
‘It was hard work but really fun. We started off as strangers but made new friends because it was all about teamwork.’
Rachel Lawrence is 12 and from Leigh. She says,
‘It’s been exciting even though we didn’t win. It was good because everyone enjoyed it and it shows we all have lots of similarities and should all be equal.’
Eventual winners of the adult tournament were from Leigh Genesis Football Club and junior winners were the team representing Hindley Kicks.