On Saturday 2nd August 2014, Herts Aid held their third successful Football Tournament at Chells Park in Stevenage.
Despite the unpredictable weather, 8 teams competed against each other in an 11-a-side tournament, which attracted over 100 spectators.
The tournament was officially opened by the Deputy Mayor of Stevenage, Councillor Jacqueline Hollywell, who emphasised the need to promote early diagnosis of HIV and reduce stigma associated with the illness.
The Tournament winners were Team Zimbabwe (1-0) and the runners up Hatfield Football Club. The Herts Aid Cup was presented to the winning team by Cllr Sherma Batson, Mayor of Stevenage, and each team member received an individual Winner’s Medal. The runners up received individual Runners up Medals, and the Man of the Match Trophy was awarded to Sheppard from Team Zimbabwe.
Stevenage Women’s Football Club delivered Soccercise sessions for children during the day, and helped with the award ceremony at the conclusion of the tournament.
As a result of this event, men and women from the BME Community in Stevenage were able to come together for a family event which provided the additional benefit of:
• Access to information on HIV and how it is disproportionality affecting the BME Community.
• Increasing their understanding of the benefits of early HIV testing.
• 66 people (1 in 3 attendees) had a free Rapid HIV test at the event
• Increasing awareness of other Health Conditions that affect the BME community.
• The majority of attendants reported increased knowledge of HIV as a result of attending the event.
• Lovely African cuisine was provided by AFM church ladies and staff from Herts Aid.
The event was very successful with 94% of those who attended reporting a reduced stigma associated with HIV as a result of attending the event, and 100% reported they would attend a similar event.
Successful partnership working took place with organisations who may not otherwise have worked together: Health Watch, Hertfordshire County Council Public Health team, Stop Smoking, Mind in Herts-Stevenage, Afro Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, Stroke UK, Prostate Cancer, Lister Hospital Dementia Trust, Herts Urgent Care, MAC, AFM Church and Diabetes UK.
Herts Aid would like to thank Cllr Richard Henry, Cllr John Lloyd, Cllr David Cullen, Cllr Monika Cherney-Craw, Cllr Chris Saunders and Cllr Margaret Notley, Stevenage Community Trust, Hertfordshire Football Association, Stevenage Football Club-Leisure Leagues and the Mayor of Stevenage, Sherma Batson for their assistance in funding this event.