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National partner profile: Australia

The Big Issue Australia/Community Street Soccer

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An initiative of The Big Issue Australia, Community Street Soccer operates in 18 locations throughout the country, covering all states and territories.

This project is a fun and exciting initiative of The Big Issue that uses the power of sport to change lives.

Community Street Soccer promote social inclusion and personal change for participants by providing support and promoting participation, inclusiveness, commitment, and team spirit.

The programme is supported by Team Australia’s national ambassador, former national football player and one of the leading personalities in Australian football, Craig Foster.

The heart of the programme are the weekly training sessions held across Australia. Participants get together in a safe and non-threatening environment, allowing them to increase their fitness, make new friends, and seek support and advice. Support staff work closely with players, linking them to services that address issues including homelessness, substance abuse, family breakdown, and mental illness.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Community Street Soccer aim to engage people who in many cases have given up on counselling and traditional support systems and services.

Street soccer puts the person at the centre of the solution and provides them with the support and tools necessary to make positive changes to their lives.

Goals for the future

Social Inclusion

To provide opportunities for people to earn an income and to build confidence for marginalised people and their capacity to help themselves

Additional information

Football Activities

Weekly training sessions in all 18 locations.

Non-football services

Community Street Soccer link participants to services that address issues including homelessness, substance abuse, family breakdown, and mental illness.

Participants challenges

Participants typically deal with mental health problems, homelessness, refugee status, substance abuse, physical disability, long-term unemployment, and family breakdown.

Country challenges

In 2011/12, 2.55 million people (13.9% of the population) and 603,000 children (17.7% of all children) were living below the poverty line. The rate of poverty is higher amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the social gap between indigenous and non-indigenous populations is high, making the indigenous people more vulnerable to social exclusion and homelessness (ACOSS, 2014)

Homlessness definition

When a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives they are considered homeless if their current living arrangement: is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendible; or does not allow them to have control of, and access to, space for social relations (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012)

Homelessness Statistics

An estimated 105,000 people are homeless in Australia. Of those, 44% are female, 12% are children under the age of 12, and 25% are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. More than 30% of homeless people in Australia were born overseas (Homelessness Australia, 2009).

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