The football team in Gloucester helping refugees settle in the UK

  • Watch Ross Arnott's report


Meet the refugees from Gloucester who have been integrating in the community thanks to the efforts of one football team.

Longlevens AFC have been helping those housed in the city by trying to get them outside playing a sport that they love.

Every week the team now run a football session for those who are staying in a hotel nearby.

They started with just a handful of participants and now it has grown so much that they regularly get over 50 people attending.

The refugees have been enjoying the sessions and have received free kit from the nearby community.

Those who regularly come have arrived in the UK from war zones and conflicts right across the world and one person involved said it has offered them some 'normality'.

Simon Haileab, a refugee from Eritrea, said: "We do nothing here right now, we are in the hotel here. We thank you all so much because we now have the opportunity to play football here.

"We are from different countries and different nations but we can all come together and play football together. It is really nice.

"You see the passion from the people here and when you come you forget everything and we just enjoy the moment.

"You can see on our faces that we are all very happy here."

Because of the popularity of the sessions amongst the refugees the club have been struggling to provide enough kit, despite being supported by dozens of other groups and teams across Gloucester.

A number of the refugees have been told that they will be moved to another area of the UK.

"They always come off the pitch with a smile on their face. We make sure that everyone shakes hands when they come and then we make sure that they shake hands when they leave.

Michael Palmer, Longlevens AFC joint-manager, said: "It is really important for creating a togetherness that they can thrive on.

"There are people from all over the world here and they all speak other languages but when you put that ball on to the pitch here they all understand and they all get on and have a good time.

"Most importantly you can see that they all work together and form a team which is really nice to see."