Football pitch inaugurated at Marsa Open Centre

New five-a-side football pitch inaugurated at AWAS funded by the International Olympic Committee

A new five-a-side synthetic football pitch has been inaugurated at the Marsa Open Centre, for residents of the six centres operated by the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers.

The pitch was funded through €41,400 in funding awarded to AWAS by the International Olympic Committee Emergency Fund, and a football training programme will be provided by the Malta Football Association on a weekly basis to residents. 

Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela commended this collaboration as a way “to bring about positive change through sports.”

Referring to both the physical and psychological benefits of sports, he added that this initiative will serve as another step forward in the challenge of AWAS to foster activity and determination in individuals. 

Abela, spoke about the work carried out by AWAS to improve the quality of services provided to beneficiaries of international protection and asylum seekers currently amounting to 557 members coming from 36 different nationalities with most residents originating from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Somalia and Syria.

He noted that AWAS works to provide individual care plans according to individual needs in fields such as education, health and employment.

“In the last three years, AWAS has recruited almost 40 new employees mainly support workers, welfare officers and other support staff with the aim of assisting residents to become more independent individuals,” he said.

He added that in 2015, 130 open centre residents participated in information sessions on topics including housing, budgeting, hygiene, employment skills and language learning through an EU funded project.

“Integration in the labour market could be seen as the most pressing issue for residents to take back control of their lives’’, he said. 

He explained that the home affairs ministry is currently supporting the employment ministry to open a new job recruitment office at the Marsa Open Centre to be operated by Jobs Plus.