Sports camp for Ukrainian refugees in Ditchling

CHILD refugees from Ukraine will have a chance to enjoy various sports in the coming days.

The sports camp will be held at Ditchling Cricket Ground on Lewes Road, Ditchling from today to Friday.

Children can play cricket, football, tag rugby, netball and handball over the three days. Between 50 and 100 children take part in the event.

Ellen Rowley is the program manager for the event and will be one of the key people leading the sports camp.

The Argus: Ellen Rowley, left, is a program manager at the charity The Change FoundationEllen Rowley, left, is a program manager at the charity The Change Foundation

She said: “The summer camps will create a safe space for the Ukrainian children to connect with other young people who are going through the same life-changing experiences as them.

“Having been to Poland twice this year, I saw firsthand how our sporting events can improve the well-being of young people affected by the conflict.

“When you visit the border and see young families going through with a tote bag of their belongings, it hits hard. I felt so useless in that moment. I wanted to give these families everything.

“Before I went there I thought I could imagine what I would see, but there aren’t enough words to explain what we actually saw.

“Pure innocence running around, young kids unaware of the extreme nature of it all.

The Argus: Charity CEO Andy Sellins, center, was in Poland earlier this year offering sports classesThe charity’s CEO Andy Sellins, center, was in Poland earlier this year offering exercise classes

“Not only do I feel like we’ve had an impact on the young people, but the adults have engaged and really shared their stories with our team, discussed their journey and discussed our journey.

“For them to text us meaningful messages on their phones, like ‘thank you’ or ‘my kids love you,’ meant more than anything.”

The sports camp is run by The Change Foundation (TCF), a London-based charity.

Brighton CEO Andy Sellins has worked to bring sport to vulnerable people for decades, from council estates in London in 1981 to recent trips to Poland to offer sport to children.

The Argus: The summer camp takes place in Ditchling. Picture by Mark WordyThe summer camp takes place in Ditchling. Picture by Mark Wordy

He said: “For young people, sport is a way to have fun and meet new people, as well as to forget the outside world for a short time.

“In this case, the alternative for the refugee children was to sit in the detention center and stare at four walls – or answer the phone and undoubtedly beep messages from home.”

The Australian Embassy has supported TCF’s project, donating footballs and other sports equipment.

Australian rules football will be featured, followed by Australia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Bruce Edwards and two representatives from the Australian Football League Europe.

The Argus: Andy Sellins before their football game with children in Przemysl, PolandAndy Sellins before their football match with children in Przemysl, Poland

Ambassador Bruce said: “The Australian Embassy in Ukraine is delighted to support the Change Foundation project by donating footballs and sports equipment.

“These sessions give parents much-needed time to stop and plan next steps, while also allowing children to be kids, have fun, and focus—if only briefly—on something other than the horrors of war to concentrate in Ukraine they had to flee.”

A similar event is planned for next month around Ukraine’s national holiday on August 24th.

The charity has so far raised more than £48,000 of their £50,000 target for their Ukrainian refugee sports project.

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20579192.sports-camp-ukrainian-refugees-held-ditchling/?ref=rss Sports camp for Ukrainian refugees in Ditchling

Fry Electronics Team

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