Sunderland football tournament brings communities together

Sunderland College principal  Anne Isherwood
Sunderland College principal Anne Isherwood
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A FOOTBALL tournament at Sunderland College has kickstarted a partnership with diverse communities from across the region.

The Partnership Cup, a joint initiative between Young Asian Voices, anti-fascist group Sunderland Together, the International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS) and Sunderland College, saw teams battle it out at Bede Campus.

The winners were the A Team, an all-male team who attend and participate in Young Asian Voices and FA-supported Just Play provision at the GOALS centre.

Kamareswaradas Ramanathas, the project manager from Young Asian Voices and the main co-ordinator of the tournament, was delighted with their success.

He said: “With 12 teams participating, it was a very busy event with a fantastic atmosphere. All the players thoroughly enjoyed the day, and new links were forged between organisations.

“Everyone involved has agreed that they would like to make this an annual event.”

Jude Letham, from Sunderland College’s Equality and Diversity Committee, said: “As a college, it’s important we are engaged with the whole community, and events of this type are a great way to strengthen our relationships with youth groups, unions, refugee groups, community and religious organisations across the city.”

The tournament also coincided with the college’s International Cultural Event, which is held in May each year.

Students shared language skills, crafts and food from their own cultures, including Thailand, Latvia, Spain and Poland. Entertainment was provided by Kurdish wrestlers and there were demonstrations of origami and sari-wearing.

Sunderland Together also sponsored kung fu sessions for women.

Anne Isherwood, principal of Sunderland College, said: “This is the first time that Sunderland Together and ICOS have linked in with the college and Young Asian Voices to celebrate diversity.

“I’m thrilled that college staff and students had the chance to meet up with and play against teams from across the city.”