Here is a video from a Fathers Football Tournament. Enjoy the crunching tackle!
In 2013 the Fathers Football project won the Innovation Award, at the Beyond London 2012 Awards. The judges that gave the award said, “We have never seen a project that integrates so many men from different backgrounds and faiths”
“This has gone across the barriers and really made a difference to our school” Gill Ruskin, Family Support Worker
“A way of people hanging out together, living in peace. It is more than football, but about a reflection of the values of God’s Kingdom” Nick Coke, Salvation Army Officer
“I tell all my friends and family about Fathers Football because I enjoy and benefit from it so much. It’s great to build friendships with other dads and helps me be more active” Fathers Football Player
“Fathers Football has been the best way to reach local dads from different backgrounds and cultures” Tom Carpenter, London City Mission
Fathers Football Story
The Fathers Football Tower Hamlets project began in March 2012. The project is based around local primary schools and encourages fathers to participate in football sessions and tournaments for their own personal wellbeing while at the same time building the links into their children’s schools with the purpose of encouraging them to attend classroom sessions, parent/child school activities, ‘fathers forums’ and social events within the life of the school. The project, with support from seven local churches, the local council and twelve local schools, has more than eighty dads participating. The relationships built with the dads have led to a greater trust, respect and cohesion amongst families across the community
“One dad who joined the project last year had recently been made redundant and suddenly found himself out of work with nothing to do. Fathers Football offered him a chance to break his week up as he began to search again for a new job. It allowed him to make new friendships and live a healthier life style. After several months he went back to college and we saw less and less of him before he went back into full time employment. He did join our Saturday morning church based community football programme. His wife was constantly telling us how much he enjoyed the football and how much it meant to him.” Fathers Football Player
“My husband didn’t know any Bengalis before he went to football. Now he talks to his Bengali friends in the playground and in the streets. His English is better since he did the FA Level 1 Course” Iffrah wife of Yusuf
The project is a great way to get in touch with local fathers, to build friendships, fellowship, trust, to provide opportunities to share, support and help fathers in their family and community.
As God is our father, we believe that a father’s relationship and identity is so important. We live in a world full of broken relationships and we believe in a God who wants to bring restoration to families and communities. “By the age of 15, almost half of all children in the UK are no longer living with both their parents. A million children have no meaningful contact with their fathers.” Centre for Social Justice 2013.
According to Dr Samantha Callan, “When you look across the statistics, children who experience family breakdown are more likely to experience all sorts of problems; do less well at school; need more medical treatment; leave school and home earlier and the major cause of youth homelessness is family breakdown.”
Through the project, we have seen fathers engaging more with their own family and community.
“Adam is now so much happier at school; he comes into the playground to pick up his boys and will often be seen at the gate with the other dads chatting.
Ambassadors Football has made a real difference to us. Together I see what a great difference you have made to the dads in the school playground and how you have brought together a group of dads from so many different backgrounds and seen them grow and grow and the difference in Adam and his family is amazing.” Report from Primary School. (*Name has been changed)
In a world that is ever developing we have seen that “in the UK 67% of men are either overweight or obese”, according to the Global Burden of Disease study. According to Heart UK some benefits of being active include:
- Improvement of overall health
- Reduces stress, anxiety and depression
- Raises self-esteem and confidence
These benefits are vital and with additional support we have seen fathers boast weight loss, improve their health and become more active.
“Since playing at Fathers Football my health has improved and I have more confidence” Dennis, Fathers Football Player
How to get involved?
Ambassadors can provide training, resources and support for churches to start using football to engage with Fathers.
Here is a list of some churches who are already involved in Fathers Football.
St Paul’s Shadwell
Bethnal Green Mission
St Helen’s Bishopsgate
London City Mission