A special friendly match will be hosted at Greatness Park tomorrow [Friday 2nd September] between Sevenoaks Town FC U13’s and The Unity of Faiths Foundation U14’s in a celebration of unity.
The Unity of Faiths Foundation (TUFF) is a charity working with young people in London, primarily from low-income families and from a diverse range of races and religions. The charity runs a unique programme that supports potentially vulnerable young people through the unique power of football. TUFF’s work has already earned high-praise from an eminent list of dignitaries including the Queen and Barack Obama, who has invited the foundation to the White House to showcase its approach to building cohesion.
The project started in August 2014 with fifteen youths playing football in the streets of London and now supports hundreds of young people through organised weekly football; children who have been deprived of football due to poverty, were on the brink of falling into gangs, and more recently were in danger of being radicalised. TUFF’s work has protected over 30 children who were in danger of going to Syria.
Recently, a local authority outside of London made contact with TUFF to explain that they would also benefit from the programme. TUFF asked them: “Why would a typically white middle-class area benefit from our programme?”. The answer, of course, was that to create true unity, children from all backgrounds have to be educated about the multicultural society in which we live in order to foster a compassionate, understanding and accepting ethos within Britain. Often children from outside this country's major cities will only meet and engage with a child from a different race or religion when they enter the world of work or go on to higher education.
Sevenoaks Town FC have been championing TUFF’s work for some time and will be the first grassroots club to pilot the TUFF programme outside of London starting with tomorrow’s friendly. The match will be followed by a workshop focusing on how British values and football brings both teams together in unity.