» More Than Football: Big Hearts Is a Family

More Than Football: Big Hearts Is a Family

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Big Hearts, the charity of Heart of Midlothian FC, has been supporting refugees and asylum-seeking young people in Edinburgh since 2017.

In the summer of 2021, Tynecastle Park became the first football ground in Scotland to deliver ‘Welcome Through Football’. The project aims to assist in the integration and inclusion of recently arrived young refugees, asylum seekers and young people with a migrant background aged 15-25.

Welcome Through Football is based on a range of activities promoting the quality of youth work, the intercultural dialogue and aims to strengthen knowledge and acceptance of diversity in society.

In 2023, the programme supported more than 70 young refugees and asylum-seekers, including Hassan who moved to Edinburgh two years ago. He shares his story with us:

Big Hearts: More Than Just Football!

Hello everyone, my name is Hassan, and I’m here to tell you about the incredible impact Big Hearts has had on my life.

Two years ago, I moved to Edinburgh from Nigeria, feeling isolated and lost. Work and studies were stressful, and loneliness gnawed at me. I tried playing football at different places, but nothing clicked.

Then I found Big Hearts. It wasn’t just a football training session; it was a family. The trainers welcomed me with open arms, their support a warm embrace. Talking football, sharing jokes – it felt like home, a place where cultural barriers dissolved.

The beauty of Big Hearts is its diversity. Nigerians, Sudanese, Ukrainians – a kaleidoscope of nationalities, genders, and backgrounds, all united by the beautiful game. We create memories, laugh, and forge friendships that transcend the pitch.

Remember that unforgettable trip to Burnley with the team? The competition was thrilling, but the shared KFC experience with these wonderful people is a memory I’ll cherish forever.

But Big Hearts goes beyond football. Last year, an ACL surgery sidelined me for months. What could have been a lonely ordeal turned into a testament to their care. A well-wish card, signed by each member, messages of encouragement, visits bringing gifts – a wave of support that kept my spirits high. They reminded me that I wasn’t just a player; I was part of something bigger.

Big Hearts isn’t just about football; it’s about belonging, about a community that welcomes you with open arms, celebrates your victories, and uplifts you during challenges. It’s a place where love extends far beyond the pitch, a testament to the power of the beautiful game to bring people together.”


– March 2024


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