Rovers and the Club Doncaster Foundation have been selected alongside three Premier League sides and one Championship side to partner with Amnesty International for the Football Welcomes campaign.
For people fleeing war and persecution, settling into a new culture can be extremely difficult. People seeking asylum are given very little to live on and for many football can play a massive part in creating a sense of belonging.
It’s well-known that playing football can assist in improving mental and physical health and so, for the past two years, the Foundation have been providing opportunities for people seeking asylum in Doncaster to play football each Friday. Rovers have supported the Foundation by organising a boot drive which saw more than 200 pairs of boots donated by fans and Fit Rovers participants.
This year, Amnesty has launched the Football Welcomes Community Project which focuses on football’s power to bring people together. Both Rovers and Belles will be supporting the project and supporters can still show their support by donating boots and trainers at the Club Store.
Manager Darren Moore said: “First of all, I want to say a huge congratulations to everyone at Club Doncaster. To be nominated for this funding alongside the other football teams who are mostly Premier League is excellent. We're the only League One club which just goes to show that as a football club we really value the community. To be alongside the so-called bigger clubs, just shows that Club Doncaster is punching above its weight when it comes to community work.
“It's really important that we support people seeking asylum because it demonstrates the value that we have for people. No matter what background you're deemed to be from, there's a real equality here at Club Doncaster. We reach out to everybody in the community and as the manager of Rovers, I thoroughly support that work. We'll continue to support it and work to get bigger, better and stronger in order to reach even more areas of the community.”
Matty Blair added: “To be recognised by Amnesty International for the work that the club are doing as a whole in the community is nothing short of incredible. The boot drive has shown some of the amazing things that Club Doncaster is capable of achieving.
“As an ambassador of Fit Rovers, I’m really proud of the vets efforts in donating football boots which means that people seeking asylum are able to play football on a Friday night. I would hate for something as simple as not owning a pair of boots to mean I was never able to play the sport I love and we should do anything we can do to make people feel welcome in Doncaster.”