Youngsters from a variety of ethnic backgrounds have been taking part in a range of activities over Christmas thanks to the WearHere4Winter programme. This included a unique football tournament held on Christmas Day in the city.
The aim of the scheme is to provide essential support for families who may be struggling to make ends meet, those having a difficult time over the festive period or anyone in need of help at what can be a difficult time of year.
The youngsters played football, tennis, cricket and participated in several other activities as they enjoyed some healthy eating over the festive period care of the scheme.
It’s all part of Asian Voices, a multicultural youth and community project working and supporting young people as well as adults in the city of Sunderland. Since its inception in 1996, YAV has maintained a good structure and a management committee overseeing all project work.
YAV provides youth sessions, junior sessions, holiday programmes, sporting opportunities, volunteering opportunities, talent pathways, employment opportunities and various educational training to young people and adults. It has an excellent reputation for delivering quality youth work and staff development within ethnic communities on Wearside and has a strong partnership working alongside the city of Sunderland Council.
Executive Manager Ram Ramanathas told Asian Standard: “The Christmas day football tournament got a great reaction from many parents able to relax knowing their children were having a happy time. It made the kids feel special as quite a few made some new friends. And at a time when many places were closed, it was nice to able to help the community in this way.
“Also, as part of the programme we took 70 children out for a meal at a restaurant in the city, many of whom had never experienced what it was like to have a sit-down meal in a group. Everyone had a wonderful time, and it all helps to create a sense of togetherness. It’s been really great over the Christmas holiday.”
Ram also confirmed the group run similar schemes across the seasons and there are some excellent events lined up for the charity who recently celebrated their 25th birthday.
He added: “YAV is now delivering longer term projects with the support of regional and national partners leading to further enhanced and flexible provisions. Across the city and region, recognisable as a reliable deliverer of services and events ranging from supporting the city of culture bid to facilitating international and local events. We are an active role model in the region continuing to encompass inclusion, gender equality, equal opportunities and sustainability conducts in delivery, the very values that underpin sustainable growth of a social economy.”
The charity is looking forward to a vibrant new year after demonstrating once again just how important a role they play in the city of Sunderland. For now, at least, kids from different ethnic backgrounds continue to revel in the Christmas holidays.