An international football match with a difference has taken place to mark Black History month. The match was between the NHS internationals – made up of around 30 international members of healthcare staff from North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust – and the Hilltop Heights team – the UK’s first asylum seekers football team.
Bita Ebrahim, a hygiene specialist at the West Cumberland Hospital, organised the game which was played at Melbourne Park, Carlisle.
GPs, doctors, nurses and healthcare workers from different countries make up Bita’s NHS International FC team.
He said: “Football is one of the events that brings people together from different cultures. There are no boundaries in football and the game enabled us to celebrate our cultural diversity in the NHS.
“We all had a great time and our families were able to come and support us on the day.
“We would like to thank all of our supporters as well as Cumberland Council - and the Cumbria and North Lancashire Health Branch of Unison – who covered the cost of transport from west Cumbria to Carlisle for the players and their families.”
Bita Ebrahim, explained how the International NHS team began: “The team started pre-covid in 2019. It was created with the aim of bringing people together, socialising, motivating and encouraging the community to join us with the aim of building a more diverse community in Cumbria.
“We started off with about four to six members and now we have grown to more than 30 international nurses, healthcare workers and their families.”
As part of Black History month the two teams of truly international players wanted to celebrate so came together to enjoy a friendly game. No one really knows who won or what the score was, the aim of the day was to have fun and make friends.