ONE CITY, many cultures was the theme of an event attended by hundreds of people in Sheffield, aimed at wiping out racism.
A festival of football was staged in Barker’s Pool in the city centre, celebrating multi-culturalism and encouraging residents to integrate with people from other cultures who have made Sheffield their home.
The organisation Football Unites, Racism Divides organised the free event, and set up an inflatable football pitch to get people from all walks of life playing the beautiful game together, without any issues or barriers separating them.
Spectators watching from the sidelines included Sheffield’s new Lord Mayor John Campbell, and shopper Liz James, aged 58, of Hillsborough, who said the face of Sheffield has changed over the years.
“The city has changed in my time and I certainly have noticed lots more different cultures here,” she said. “So these events are good if people are suffering racism - nobody should have to put up with that.
“Everybody should treat everybody equally, and I have enjoyed watching all the children playing football not caring who is on their team, just having fun.”
Football coach Taz Saleem, 43, who works for FURD, said: “Our aim is to get people from all backgrounds together, regardless of colour or creed, in a fun way without barriers.
“Sheffield is a beautiful, multi-cultural city and we don’t want racism to spoil that - we think football is a fantastic way of getting people to mix.
“It’s great when you watch a game and see so many different people from different cultures all together united by sport.”
A stage was erected on which musicians and bands could perform as part of the Sound Kickers project, which uses music to break down barriers.
And Chris Stone, a lead researcher at FURD, who is looking at what football means to asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Sheffield, said: “These kind of events are a great way of getting people to mix, highlighting the positive contributions minority groups make to society.
“We use football as a way of encouraging interaction between people who perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily meet, and it helps us to raise awareness of some of the issues asylum seekers face.”
n More pictures on page 8 of the People pullout.