The Green Devil with 2 of our younger visitors (from Honduras & El Salvador).

People come to try and live in the UK from many countries and for many different reasons.  This decision is a brave one.  It often means leaving behind family and everything you know, to undertake a very difficult journey.  Many are simply looking for a place of safety where they can live freely and normally, away from danger and persecution in their home country.

Asylum seekers get a bad press, which often focuses on economic migration and boats in the English Channel.  It’s good to consider individuals once in a while.  Pretty much incarcerated in faceless hotels with meals brought to rooms, and unable to work while they wait for months or years for their claims to be processed.  Their weekly allowance of £9 doesn’t allow them to do very much.

So the club, the Supporters Club and GARAS (the Gloucestershire Action for Refugees & Asylum Seekers) teamed up for the 2nd time this season to offer an afternoon out at the recent Oxford Utd game.  There were 13 visitors, and they came from Columbia, Afghanistan, El Salvador & Honduras.  All seemed to really enjoy their day and to have the chance just to be able to get out and do something and to engage in the local community.

It was probably the kids that had the most fun!  Two of the older kids, waved some flags, ate some chips, met Denise van Outen (with no idea who she was!), and picked up some player autographs after the game.

A huge thanks to the club for helping some of us to meet a few of the real people behind the headlines.