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National partner profile: England

Participants

Adult men and women who have experienced homelessness or social exclusion

Locations

London, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Carlisle, Derby, Liverpool, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Southampton and Sunderland

Homeless Football Association

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The Street Football Association is England’s national street football body, running programmes open to all professional clubs in England that use football as a means of improving the lives of socially excluded people.

Participating clubs have the opportunity to deliver The Street Football Association Training Programme, an evolution of the Homeless FA’s award-winning Training Centre Programme.

All programmes and workshops are underpinned by a model of empowerment; challenging players rather than tip-toeing around their past problems, giving them responsibility and supporting them to raise the bar, not lowering it for them.

The Street Football Association focuses on:

  • Improving physical fitness – 85 percent of participants show an improvement in their physical fitness by the end of the yearlong programme. These results are evidenced by a fitness test in addition to self-reporting by participants.
  • Improving mental health and wellbeing – 96 percent of participants report an improvement in their mental health and wellbeing, with 97 per cent seeing themselves in a more positive way as a result of the programme.
  • Reducing substance use – 87 percent report a decrease in their substance use, with 21 per cent of these ending their substance use altogether.
  • Improving employability and suitability for work – 58 percent gain employment during or after their involvement in the programme, and 52 per cent progress into further education opportunities.
  • Improving housing situation – 44 percent improve their housing situation, increasing their likelihood to maintain education, employment or training.
  • Increasing confidence – 100 percent report an increase their confidence and self-esteem as a result of participation in the programme.
  • Improving self-image – 97 percent see themselves in a more positive light after taking part in the programme.
  • Improving interpersonal skills – 97 percent improve their interpersonal skills as a result of participation in the programme.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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The Street Football Association believe that every homeless person has the potential to change their lives positively and that football can facilitate this transformation. By promoting fair play and inclusiveness in the context of football, their primary focus is on personal and social development.

By promoting fair play and inclusiveness in the context of football, their primary focus is on personal and social development.

Goals for the future

Programme Development

To develop a street league series in conjunction with professional football clubs called the “Homeless FA Hub Programme”

Education

To develop more sporting qualifications in association with Sports Leaders UK and to create their own qualification for participants

Training Sessions

To develop and run weekly sessions in conjunction with professional football club partners

Partnerships

To continue developing international partnerships, especially with partners in Portugal, Belgium, and Bosnia

Additional information

Partner since

2011

Football Activities

The Street Football Association run intensive training programs in association with professional football clubs during April and May. They also run their own tournament and attend other international tournaments.

Team selection

Homeless people apply to the programme which is run in cooperation with professional football clubs and become “part” of the club. They go through a training centre programme and receive qualifications upon completion. A national squad of 20 is selected on the grounds of personal progress and attitude. Out of these 20, everyone gets to take part in an international tournament, with the Homeless World Cup being one of these.

Non-football services

Peer-mentoring programme, and self-confidence sessions. Each player also receives a Sports Leader Level 1 qualification, and further opportunities for qualifications are planned.

Participants challenges

Substance abuse, violence, and homelessness

Country challenges

The effects of the 2008 recession are still felt, and there is a lack of affordable housing, particularly in the South East. Immigrants are particularly vulnerable to homelessness because of their lack of networks, language skills, and knowledge of the benefit system. Immigrants from the Eastern European accession states make up around 30% of rough sleepers in London (Guardian, 2014).

Homlessness definition

A person is homeless if he has no accommodation available for his occupation; or if he has accommodation but cannot secure entry to it or if it is a moveable structure. A person shall not be treated as having accommodation unless it would be reasonable for him to continue to occupy it (See full definition in the Housing Act, 1996).

Homelessness Statistics

In 2013, 112,070 people declared themselves homeless in England. This is a 26% increase in four years. The number of people sleeping rough in London grew by 75% to a 6,437 in 2013 (Guardian, 2014).

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