Football Unites Racism Divides (FURD) is a youth and social inclusion project and charity based in Sheffield, England, which works locally, nationally and internationally to combat racism and increase understanding between different communities.
At FURD, we believe that football as a game brings people together and adds social value to society. Today, there are many charities in the UK that adapt the use of physical activity to address various issues in society. In the last decade, there have been many campaigns carried out to challenge and educate against racism. We believe we helped plant the seed when we decided to act against racism by using the means of football to educate the community.
Football Racism Divides Education Trust is managed by a board of trustees; this is made up of various people from community organisations, Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA, Sheffield United Football Club, Sheffield Hallam University and local residents. Our current Chair is Howard Holmes, founder of FURD. The board of trustees meets four times a year.
FURD is a registered charity (1149203) and a company limited by guarantee (08169407). We receive funding from various charitable trusts and grant making bodies.
FURD has good relationships with partners from a range of organisations. We are part of the wider anti-racism network including Kick It Out and FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe). We are keen to develop initiatives with new partners. Please contact us, if you have any new ideas/suggestions or would like to undertake any joint work with FURD.
It all started in 1995 when football was growing to be a global phenomenon; thanks to the Premier League the impact of the game was commercially and non-commercially extensive. In Bramall Lane, home of Sheffield United, on one side the game proved successful as it started bringing fans together; whilst on the other side, racial slurs and attacks on the BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) community in the local area increased. A group of faithful followers of the game wanted to address the issue and came together to start Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD).
Our working model has been community-focused, bringing change on the ground. We have constantly been developing ideas tackling racism at grassroots and educating young people about racism through sports. Committed volunteers, social workers and funding from many partners have been helping us to make a positive impact in the community. A look back at our work in the last 20 years at grassroots level explains our existence and our uniqueness.
FURD has been a constant factor in the work of tackling racism. As much as we may celebrate some of our successes, based on our experience, we know that the issues related to racism are constantly changing and growing. Initially racism was more focused towards the BAME community, but now we see religious intolerance has increased . War and economic instability have caused thousands from their homeland to flee to other countries as refugees and asylum seekers. There is a desire for belonging and a contrasting fear of acceptance entangled in the minds of both immigrants and nationals that constantly keeps us on edge. I am sure in 5 years there may be another issue that we are trying to tackle.
Our core team at FURD has been able to see success in many of the projects related to racism mainly because of our partners, friends and other likeminded organisations who have shared their time and resources. I strongly believe that it’s important that we all work as a team to tackle the issues. Our partnership with Kick It Out and the FARE network nationally has led to more success in addressing issues related to racism in football. Locally, our partnership with Sheffield City Council has enabled us to manage the U-Mix Centre, and so serving as a resource for many young people in the community and several other partner organisations.
Finally, I call upon everyone to be part of our team because racism is more relevant in our society today than ever.
Howard Holmes, Founder and Chair of FURD Board of Trustees.