Surrey Fire and Rescue Service participated in a Woking charity’s community seven-a-side football tournament. It was held at Surrey Sports Park as part of this year’s Refugee Week celebrations.

The Big Leaf Foundation in Woking was founded in 2018. It supports more than 300 displaced young people through activities, projects, and events aimed at combating social isolation and improving well-being. 

This year’s tournament was designed to encourage positive social contact and community cohesion. It saw displaced young people supported by Big Leaf, playing matches alongside teams from Surrey Fire Service, Surrey Police, and local businesses.

Station commander Lloyd Hatton said: “It was a really nice community event, and it would be great to be able to support their initiative going forward.

“I think with some support, many of these young people would look to apply to the fire service and become great additions to any workforce. For many others, they would just like the experience and enjoy feeling part of our community.” 

With more than 65 players and around 20 spectators, the event was a tremendous success, fostering understanding and building networks across the community. 

The event centred around the theme of ‘our home,’ and allowed displaced young people to mix and mingle with local communities, building a sense of belonging and confidence in the county.

The tournament evoked memories of home for many participants and provided an opportunity to create new memories and conceptions of the theme. 

In addition to the football matches, the event provided a platform for the young people to explore future career pathways. Several young attendees expressed interest in pursuing a career with the fire service, leading to plans for a career taster session at the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s Guildford HQ. 

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