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Changing Lives FC is a football team with a difference. It is a football team created for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers from around the globe who want to come together to enjoy and play football and create a better life for themselves.

Based in Harlow, the football team brings together teenagers and young adults from all across the world, helping them make friends and create new experiences all based around the love of football.

The club plays in the Harlow District League, and provides a sense of belonging and freedom to those who play for it. The values of respect, teamwork and commitment are instilled in its players. Equally the football team welcomes and nurtures those who may be finding life tough.

Changing Lives FC is managed by David Simmons who is the founder of Changing Lives Community Services – a project dedicated to keeping vulnerable young people away from gangs, knife crime, drugs and violence, and criminal activity.

While the football team is one initiative, the wider Changing Lives project runs further sporting activities and clubs to inspire and engage young people in the Harlow area. It complements this physical activity with educational workshops about staying safe and making positive choices while offering participants mentoring and work experience opportunities.

The project helps gives young people a new positive outlook on life, it is somewhere they can go to feel safe, feel inspired and part of a team but also learn how to be a valued member of society and choose a life away from crime. Changing Lives is one of the projects funded through the recent V&V grants programme.