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Warwickshire Legends win care leavers football championship

Warwickshire Legends win care leavers football championship

As the excitement of Euro 2024 kicks off, Warwickshire Legends, a football team whose players are all care experienced youngsters, secured a significant win in the recent Care Leavers Championship.

The tournament is an annual regional West Midlands event involving local authority care leaver teams. Warwickshire entered this year's competition aiming to defend their trophy after their victory in 2023 and triumphed. 

Hosted at Wolverhampton Wanderers' Molineux Stadium, the tournament saw Warwickshire Legends securing the title after a series of impressive performances. The team showcased their footballing skills and team spirit throughout the competition, reflecting on their journey since their formation in 2019. Most team members arrived in Warwickshire as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, bonding over their shared love for football and regularly attending Sunday training sessions. 

Warwickshire County Councillor Sue Markham Portfolio Holder for Children and Families said: “We’re so proud of our young players and their deserved win. Football has proven to be an asset; many of our participants, who arrived as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children without their families, have endured challenging experiences. Engaging in sports and uniting as their own football family to represent Warwickshire brings about a significant positive impact for them. 

“Our dedication lies in fostering a bright future for all care-experienced children and young people. We aspire to build a Child-Friendly Warwickshire where every child and young person flourishes and enjoys equal opportunities to thrive.” 

Sponsored by local estate agents, Handles Property, Warwickshire Legends had a new kit featuring the Child Friendly Warwickshire logo. Handles is one of over 180 local businesses which are part of the Child Friendly Warwickshire Network of Friends, sharing the ambition to make Warwickshire the best place for children and young people to grow and learn. 

Marc Martin, Business Development Executive at Handles Property, expressed his pride in the team's achievement, he stated: “It was wonderful to see the team playing in their new strip, they looked fantastic! It was even more amazing to see them win the tournament and lift the trophy. Definitely a sign of things to come for an excellent bunch of talented people.  

“We are so proud and excited to see them enjoying themselves, and it’s the main reason we wanted to be involved with the Child Friendly Warwickshire initiative. We hope to continue this relationship for many years to come, supporting in any way we can. Congratulations again team, I’m looking forward to the next match already.” 

Umar Teerab, a Family Support Worker within the Voice Influence and Change team, (Football Team Manager, Coach and Goalkeeper!)  commended the team's progress, highlighting how the sport has built resilience and strong bonds between the players. He added: “It is lovely to see them when they come together and to see how they have grown as a team and improved their skills. We always believed in them, and their progress and recent win proves the benefits of hard work.” 

The success of Warwickshire Legends underscores the power of sport in bringing communities together and providing opportunities for personal growth. It is also a good example of how activity in the county contributes to achieving Child Friendly Warwickshire outcomes for young people to be happy, healthy and heard. 

Published: 14th June 2024