THE biggest amateur football club in the UK is holding a 24-hour charity football match to help kick sexual violence into touch.

Durham University’s Collingwood College Association Football Club (CCAFC) Darlington and County Durham’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre (RSACC) and are teaming up to once again to support survivors of sexual violence by holding the sponsored event, with all proceeds going directly to the charity.

CCAFC chose to support the charity last year, and as well as having the RSACC logo on their football shirts, have already undertaken a 24hr charity run though Durham. But the Covid pandemic has significantly impacted the financial support the club wished to raise for the charity.

Dan Aichen, 4th year student and member of CCAFC’s executive, said: “Sexual violence is endemic throughout our society, and sadly colleges and universities are no exception.

“We believe by raising awareness of this amongst our peers, and by challenging the toxic masculine behaviour that supports a rape culture we will help to reduce sexual violence.

“RSACC does fantastic work supporting survivors through expert counselling and other services, but we know that they have an ever increasing waiting list, with some survivors waiting up to 9 months before they can receive the support and care they need.

“Therefore, as well as raising awareness, it’s vital that we raise as much money as we can to help survivors get support for their trauma and to hopefully lead healthier lives.”

RSACC offers a number of specialist and expert services to survivors, this includes a helpline, counselling an independent sexual violence advisory service to support survivors through the criminal justice system, a supporting peer group as well as offering training.

RSACC deputy CEO Isabel Owens said: “It’s been fantastic working with CCAFC and we have been overwhelmed by their determination - and even in the face of a global pandemic - to raise vital funds for us. Every year is tough for a charity like ours, but this year has been particularly bad for survivors. Lockdowns have further impacted their trauma, and for some limited their ability to escape abusive homes.

“Every pound raised for us, means a survivor is closer to moving off our waiting lists and into our counselling rooms.”

The match kicks off at noon on Friday and will run until midday the next day at Collingwood College’s Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA).

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