Life changing legacy of Homeless World Cup
Published: Mon, 9 Feb 2015
The life changing legacy of the 2014 Homeless World Cup was evident to all those who attended a recent event where its new name and plans for the 2015 trip to Amsterdam were unveiled
The former Street League, now known as Street Soccer NI, is a project using football to engage with some of the most marginalised in society to help them tackle complex issues that can lead to homelessness, whilst giving them the skills to break out of the cycle of homelessness.
The 2014 World Cup was sponsored by the Housing Executive Belfast City Council, East Belfast Mission, Irish Football Association, DePaul, Extern, OakleeTrinity, Belfast Community Sports Development Network, the Community Foundation Northern Ireland and OrmeauEnterprises.
Attending the event at the Skainos Centre in Belfast on our behalf were Anne Sweeney and Liam Kinney.
Team captain, Brendan Kingsmore, said: “Football brings me a different level of happiness. I care more about my life, thanks to football. I literally owe my life to football.”
The project has proved life changing for the eight players and one volunteer coach who participated in the Homeless World Cup. to date:
- All have been rehoused.
- Three people have acquired level 1 IFA badges; two have become volunteer coaches and role models to others in their community. Three more intend to complete the qualification. Three or four will be running drop in football coaching sessions for the charity in 2015. One will have the opportunity to be volunteer coach for the 2015 team competing Amsterdam in September.
- Two people have completed a programme of support from an employability service including CV building and interview skills, and one has acquired full time employment.
- One has completed a training programme at Princes Trust and now has volunteer position as Ambassador for Princes Trust inspiring others to make changes in their lives
- One signed a semi-professional contract for Bangor FC. He is only 18 years old and has a promising career ahead of him.
- Three people have completed IFA referee course and are now qualified to undertake paid refereeing.
- Four have volunteered to carry out regular promotional work; including speaking to the media and at conferences etc.
- No participants have been involved with the criminal justice system since the project.
- All are involved in regular sport including 11 a-side football.
- Nine participants have completed a five month programme (including fitness regime, team building etc), represented their country at an international tournament and completed a programme in Drug Awareness and in Mental Health Awareness. They have also competed in the All-Ireland Tournament in Dublin.
- Each player will receive an international cap from IFA for representing their country.
Anne Sweeney, our Assistant Director of Supporting People, said: “We were delighted to support the NI team in the 2014 Homeless World Cup in Chile. The outcomes for the individuals involved confirm the value of the project and we are happy to see the further development of the project in 2015.”
The last word goes to Kenny Flood, one of the players. He said: “I was homeless for over three years. Now I’ve got my own home, I’m busy with football, volunteering and training, and I’ve lots of plans and hopes for the future!”