Celtic FC Foundation and Hackney Council team up for refugee football tournament

Over 40 asylum seekers and refugees from across London played in a brand new football tournament at Mabley Green, organised by Celtic FC Foundation and Hackney Council. 

Home team Djurto Londom were crowned champions after a hard-fought final against Hackney x CFC Foundation Blues last Saturday 15 April. 

The project was established when Hackney Council’s public health and football development teams approached Celtic FC Foundation after local refugees and asylum seekers said that they wanted more football-based activities and opportunities to exercise and build friendships and new networks.

Saturday’s tournament was the final stage of the project, a pilot aimed at improving physical and mental health outcomes of asylum seekers living in hostel accommodation in Hackney. The asylum seekers participated in weekly football sessions - with coaches provided by Impact FC, a local grassroots football club - and an accredited OCN Level 1 qualification aimed at building leadership skills. 

Celtic FC Foundation has a historical connection to London, and the East End in particular, that dates back many years, and continues to the present day. 

The charitable arm of Celtic FC, the Foundation have now operated consistently since 2013 in various parts of London, but principally centred on the East End of the city.

In addition to what we do in Scotland and Ireland, Celtic FC Foundation has a long-standing commitment to supporting young people and vulnerable communities in London, and this particular project reflects our work in the city.

The project will consult with people on the day then review its findings with a view to scaling up in the coming weeks to respond to a wider need in the community.

Our projects in London are a key part of the Foundation’s portfolio of work and represents both the legacy of the founders of Celtic FC, and a responsibility to the future through our support of young people.

Tony Hamilton, Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive
Cllr Caroline Woodley, Cabinet Member for Families, Parks and Leisure

Hackney has a proud tradition of welcoming those seeking shelter from conflict or persecution and it’s been great to work with Celtic FC Foundation to support refugees in Hackney to find new connections and opportunities through sport.

The outcomes have already been plain to see - with three quarters of the participants in the programme saying that the sessions have played an important part in building friendships and increasing personal confidence - both so key to that all important sense of cultural belonging that we prize in Hackney.

I look forward to continuing to work with Celtic on our shared goals in the future. The tournament really was a credit to everyone involved. The players did themselves proud, and to those who didn’t take home a medal on Saturday, there’s always next time!

Cllr Caroline Woodley, Cabinet Member for Families, Parks and Leisure

Anyone who would like more information on Celtic FC Foundation projects in London, please contact cfcfoundation@celticfc.co.uk


About Celtic FC Foundation

Celtic FC was formed in 1887 by an Irish Marist Brother, Brother Walfrid, to raise funds and food for the poor and the needy in the East End of Glasgow. Some five years later Brother Walfrid relocated to the East End of London and founded a church and school that still stand today, working with the poor and needy in that area – including organising football matches for children.

Brother Walfrid died on April 17, 1915 but the historic links between Celtic FC in Glasgow and communities in the city of London have endured, with the club and its charitable arm Celtic FC Foundation continuing to support charitable causes in the city over the subsequent century and more.

The Foundation’s aim is to help those living in poverty through a range of initiatives targeting hunger, employability, social inclusion and education. 

While faithful to the legacy and ethos of our Founders locally, we are open to respond to national and international crisis, reflecting the outlook of supporters and the Club.