Introduction and how to use this manual
This manual has been written for people who wish to make their sport or their sports setting more inclusive to people from other backgrounds. Although primarily aimed at making sports clubs and programmes more welcoming to refugees, many of the lessons and tips we describe are equally applicable to improving access to people from other under-represented groups.
As one of the pillars of European society, sport has an important part to play in making our world more inclusive. Its unique powers to bring people together, to help them connect and to learn new skills means that sport is one the most potent community-building tools we have at our disposal.
As a contribution to the debate, this manual could not be more timely. Following the migration crisis that began in 2015, many of our villages, towns and cities are now home to new flows of people. It is, of course, possible simply to carry on as we were and hope that these people, many of whom have suffered unimaginable anguish, find their own ways into our communities. But the evidence suggests that inclusion occurs much more quickly and effectively if we take a conscious journey towards it. That journey requires challenge and change but its reward is communities that are enriched with diversity, with strong social bonds and with sports clubs at their centre.
Making change towards inclusion can feel daunting. But change starts with individual actions which can then grow into organisational ones. In this manual we try to provide everything you might need to start that process.
We begin with a general description of the situation regarding migration so that you can understand it more fully. We then go on to talk about the benefits of conscious conversations between cultures – what is known as interculturalism. In Chapter 3, we describe some of the psychological issues which refugees may face and how sport and sports settings can help them deal with those issues. And in our final section, we discuss how sports clubs and organisations can start the journey towards being more inclusive.
Throughout this manual, you will find practical tips and exercises, blended with the facts and the theory, to make your efforts as effective as possible. We think you will find the case for change a forceful one because there are clear advantages to making your sport or organisation more inclusive. They range from increasing your membership, to attracting new talent, to pulling in new sources of funding. But it’s possible that the biggest advantage of all is strengthening the reputation of our sector as a force for positive change, for innovation and for friendship.
Good luck on your journey.
Disclaimer: In the case there are concerns or problems such as conflict or health issues etc., coaches are advised to look for professional support.