The successful yearly Justice First football tournament returns tomorrow, Saturday, June 15.

The event will run from 10am to 2pm at Goals Teesside, 66-68 Stockton Rd, Middlesbrough, TS5 4AF. This five-a-side fundraiser was first played in 2010 and, other than the Covid years, has been a major event of Teesside’s Refugee Week since then.

Refugee Week is a nationwide – and worldwide – programme of arts, sports, cultural, and educational events celebrating the contributions, creativity, and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. It brings together people from different backgrounds to connect and foster a deeper understanding of why people are displaced and the challenges they face seeking safety.

Tresor Bukasa, whose background acutely reflects the above issues, was an airline pilot in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was forced to leave the DRC and eventually arrived in London where he experienced a long period of serious hardship and setbacks. Finally, he was granted citizenship and began a job at the British Red Cross. He has a Masters in International Relations and an MA in Human Rights.

Inspired by his belief that sport can both unite and delight individuals and communities alike, he initiated this tournament, and has been involved ever since. The aims of this tournament include promoting understanding between different communities, encouraging meaningful integration, to celebrate diversity – and to have fun.

Tresor is a manager for both the British Red Cross (Refugee Support and the Ukraine Response), and a trustee for Justice First, Darlington Assistance for Refugees, and the Southpaw Dance Company.

Justice First is a registered charity offering practical and emotional support to those who are escaping persecution but denied protection.

In collaboration with the British Red Cross, 20 five-a-side teams have been registered for the tournament. These are from local areas including Cumbria, Richmond, Newcastle, along with a team from Cleveland Police, and a women’s team, inspired by the Lionesses.

There are three trophies awarded at the tournament: the Courage Trophy, the Special Award Trophy, and the Fair Play Trophy.

Curtis Fleming, former Middlesbrough assistant coach, and Justice First patron, is always involved in the trophy giving. However, this year, he will be joined by Leah Nilsen, daughter of the late British Red Cross operations manager Hilary Hodgson who died last December. It was Ms Hodgson who first recruited Tresor into the Red Cross more than 12 years ago.

Tresor has also worked with many local authorities in the North East to present a celebration for Ukrainians and their British hosting families on Saturday, June 22 from 11am to 3pm at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium.

For further details contact