When I was invited to the Tiger FC Christmas Party I thought it ‘d be just another festive event. But what I found were a remarkable group of young people who have made a real impact in the community. Members of Tiger FC come from Afghanistan, Mauritius, the Gambia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Argentina and Indonesia. Their coach is a Spanish dentist, the captain a Congolese mental health worker.
They were brought together through the charity Norfolk Mind and their motto is "More Than Just A Club."
For Captain Bonito Gil it's about more than football, "I feel like I am their bigger brother and I guide them when they maybe are going the wrong way. I looked after my family, my grand parents, from when I was a small boy. Now I'm looking after them."
Some of the team turned up in Norwich as a result of wars around the world. They were brought here from refugee camps, their families dead or missing. Others came with their families escaping oppression or grinding poverty.
Meeting the members of Tiger FC is an inspiration. They are right this is more than a club. They help and support each other, they call themselves brothers and they truly are. When we talk of integration, working together, they show just what can be done.
Tiger FC was started in 2011. They won the Knockout League Cup in their first year, were second in their league for two seasons and were runners up in the Forum Community Club of the Year.
The woman who helped build the team is wellbeing trainer Amalia Hendricks. She is proud of what they have achieved. "The team members are all active in their own communities and also with the charity Norfolk Mind. They give a lot back. Football may have been the catalyst for the team, but they all share a sense of belonging and identity and most importantly help each other in every way."
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