United Welcome Refugees to Tannadice
Sunday’s victory over Falkirk was a pleasant occasion for all United fans in attendance but it was a unique experience for some visitors – a group of Syrian and Iraqi refugees who attended the game as guests of the Club. Originally from Syria and Iraq, most of these refugees have spent several years in Lebanese camps and come to Dundee as vulnerable people. After speaking to the local community group Dundee Refugee Support, it was arranged that Sunday’s game would be an ideal occasion for the refugees to attend a game and the Club organised tickets for all who wanted to come along. With the help of volunteers from ArabTRUST and United Ladies of Tannadice (ULT), the refugees attended the Hegarty Suite ahead of the game and experienced the pre-match atmosphere within before taking their seats within the George Fox stand. Before this, they were each presented with scarves donated by the Club in partnership with Dundee United Direct as well as hats from ArabTRUST. Dundee United’s Head of Communications Joe Rice said, “We knew Dundee United could play a significant role in ensuring these families integrate within the local community. Thanks to the efforts of my colleague Riki Grauer, ArabTRUST and ULT, this vision has become a reality. “It was fantastic to see these families enjoy themselves and, with the game ending
the way it did, they will be welcome back anytime!” Associate Director Stuart Campbell said, “ArabTRUST, along with ULT, were delighted to welcome some of Dundee’s newest citizens to the Hegarty Suite on Sunday before the game against Falkirk. It was a pleasure to host the refugees and their children and it was a great way for everyone to get to know one another a bit better. They enjoyed the Scottish hospitality and it helped them feel part of the community. The event was a great success and looking at the kids’ faces at the end of the day, I am sure they all had a fantastic time.” A spokesperson for Dundee Refugee Support group said, “It was a brilliant day and it was great to see how much the guys enjoyed themselves and got into the game. Thank you so much to everyone at the Club, ArabTRUST and ULT who worked hard to make it such a great experience, as well as the team for treating their new fans to a few goals. “It summed up perfectly what is best about Scottish football: it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, if you are there to support the team you are just one of the family. It was amazing Dundee United and the supporters’ clubs went to such lengths to make this happen.” Vali Hussein, a refugee support officer with the Yusuf Youth Initiative (YYI) said, “We felt welcomed and part of the Club. This was a positive experience for all the refugees. It was good to see the smiles and so much joy when the goals were scored. These guys have a gone through terrible trauma and activities and events like this make them overcome some of the trauma and feel very much welcome and at home. From start to finish they thoroughly enjoyed it and the personal welcome and hospitality shown by the Club were terrific. “Thanks on behalf of all refugees and the YYI. It was great meeting everyone from the Club. Everyone loved the hats and scarves and I think we look like passionate supporters of DUFC in your picture. Please give my regards to all the organisers.” If you want to find out a little more about the work of the Dundee Refugee Support group, you can visit their website at http://www.