Sebastian Barros releases a limited-edition zine to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Grenfell Athletic Football Club.
After last week’s record-breaking temperatures and the London Fire Brigade reporting its busiest week since the Second World World, London-based photographer Sebastian Barros reminds us of the people behind the headlines and the distinctly British culture of Sunday League football with the release of a limited edition photo zine to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Grenfell Athletic Football Club and the start of the new football season.
Founded in 2017, six weeks after the devastating Grenfell Tower fire, the club aimed to provide a positive purpose and unite the grieving community around West London. The club has gone from strength to strength and now finds itself in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Sunday League. It has since expressed a commitment to honouring the legacy of the 72 victims by engaging in a series of community-driven football initiatives that … “have been a source of hope, solidarity and mental and physical health for the community.”
Sebastian Barros started working with the Grenfell Athletic Team in 2020 after hearing about the club from a friend. One initial meeting turned into several, and by July 2021, he had developed a strong rapport with the team, and they invited him to join them on the Fire Service Tour of 2021. “The Grenfell team have always made me feel part of the fam, and that’s what I wanted to communicate with this zine. It was important to me that their voices were included from the outset, that the reader got the sense of the different personalities and that they too felt part of the group, their world if you will. That’s why I wanted to feature the messages from the WhatsApp group prominently. I wanted the players to have real agency within the story, to be active voices, - That coupled with the more intimate BTS style imagery felt like the right way to tell this story.’’
The Fire Service Tour took Grenfell Athletic on a journey across the country to play Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service FC, Manchester Fire and Rescue and back to London to play the London Fire Brigade - where the LFB team included Red Watch, which was the brigade who fought the tragic inferno which took the lives of 72 people in 2017. The pre-season games against the fire services offered a ‘footballing thank you’ to the communities who had continued, as key workers, to risk their lives throughout lockdown.
The zine will be available to buy from here.
Priced at £12.50 + postage with all profits going back into Grenfell Athletic Football club to help fund its future development.
Photography: Sebastian Barros