New Pioneers Project volunteers serve meals to participants at Rochdale AFC Community Trust’s Hope Football

Date published: 16 November 2023

The New Pioneers Project - a Rochdale Borough Council and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing fund community project committed to fostering inclusion and providing support for vulnerable residents - is collaborating with the Rochdale AFC Community Trust on their Hope Football sessions to serve hot, nutritious meals to the participants.

Refugees and those seeking sanctuary often face numerous challenges as they adapt to their new lives in a foreign land.

The Rochdale AFC Community Trust’s Hope Football team, which runs every Wednesday from 5pm until 7pm, and aims to provide a safe and welcoming environment for newcomers while promoting social integration, says it has found an invaluable partner in the New Pioneers Project.

By supporting asylum seekers and refugees in Rochdale, the partnership aims to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone, bringing the community closer and providing essential support to those who need it most.

Every week, just before football training, a group of dedicated volunteers from the New Pioneers Project gather at Spotland Community Centre to prepare a warm and nourishing meal for the Hope Project's participants. This gesture not only ensures that everyone has access to good food but also fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie among the recipients.

The New Pioneers Project volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and have varying culinary expertise, creating an eclectic menu each week. This variety ensures that the meals served are not only delicious but also reflective of the multicultural tapestry that makes up the Rochdale community.




Volunteer Enas Hammam, who has been part of the New Pioneers Project for several years, shares her motivation: "Cooking for the Hope Football participants is not just about feeding them; it's about connecting with people from different walks of life and letting them know they are welcome here. The smiles on their faces when they enjoy the food, we prepare are priceless."

Rochdale AFC Community Trust’s inclusion coordinator, Liz Cotterill, who coaches alongside community coach Kisimba Kisimba praised the partnership, saying: "The meals provided by the New Pioneers Project volunteers are a lifeline for many of our participants.

"It's heartwarming to see how this collaboration is making a real difference in their lives. It's about more than just food; it's about building a sense of belonging.

"The beneficiaries of this collaboration are not just enjoying delicious meals; they are also gaining the opportunity to bond with the local community. This connection is invaluable for individuals who may have experienced isolation and adversity in their pursuit of safety and refuge."

For more information regarding Hope football then get in touch with or visit

To find out more about the New Pioneer’s project please visit

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