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National partner profile: Netherlands

Participants

Homeless, socially disadvantaged men and women, those affected by substance abuse, victims of domestic violence, and ex-prisoners

Locations

21 cities across the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Maastricht

Life Goals Foundation

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Life Goals Foundation help vulnerable people at the edges of society integrate through sports. The foundation provides special sports programmes for people who have faced major negative life events.
Under the supervision of specially trained Social Sports Coaches, Life Goals Foundation run sports programmes. By participating in these programmes, players improve conditions across all areas of their lives, such as housing, work, and leisure. Sports are not only fun, but can be a huge incentive to reconnect with society.

The organisation was founded by former professional referee Frans Derks, who also works as the Team Netherland’s national ambassador. In 2009, he received a Royal Honour for his outstanding contribution to football and his great social commitment.

Life Goals have developed their own methodology with the input of sports psychologists, sports trainers, and counsellors. This methodology is person-centred. Each participant is the director of her or her personal life goals and creates a list of what she would like to achieve.

Unlike some other countries where sport for development is still viewed with scepticism, the Netherlands encourages the use of sport as a powerful tool for integration within the Dutch welfare system, and sports sessions are offered to a range of vulnerable groups (Life Goals, 2014).

Life Goals execute programmes on behalf of ministries, provinces, municipalities, the Salvation Army, prisons, and probation trusts. The programmes are offered and supported by Life Goals Foundation-educated Social Sports Coaches and delivered in 50 Social Clubs throughout the country.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Life Goals Foundation was established to use sport to promote the reintegration of vulnerable people. Sport can be a huge incentive for marginalised people to take full part in society and on the pitch. By developing creative projects, they bring together a nationwide network of sports clubs, health care institutions, municipalities and employers

As a result thousands of people are moving on towards a better future.

Goals for the future

Tournaments

To successfully host the 2015 Homeless World Cup and the Dutch Street Cup, a national tournament with 40 teams

Education

To contribute to players’ skills development through Life Goals (housing, working, and leisure), to give socially excluded people the opportunity to volunteer, and to create work experience schemes for participants

Capacity Expansion

To expand their work with 50:50 (a social enterprise that offers apprenticeships in catering and cooking), to increase the network of homeless teams, and to pick new national ambassadors

Additional information

Partner since

2003

Football Activities

Life Goals organise local and national tournaments, culminating in the Dutch Street Cup, and participate in international tournaments across Europe.

Team selection

The national women’s and men’s teams are selected from participants in the Dutch Street Cup and include individuals with great personal achievements from across the country, rather than the top team.

Non-football services

Job coaches and social workers are on hand to help participants regain control of other aspects of their lives, including housing, work, relationships and mental and physical health. They also provide access to employment, refereeing programme, and self-improvement programmes.

Participants challenges

Substance abuse, domestic violence

Country challenges

Despite the economic crisis, thw percentage of people living in poverty has only increased by around 1% over the last five years. Poverty is mainly confined to disadvantaged urban areas (Dutch News, 2014).

Homlessness definition

“Homelessness can be defined as a severe condition of social, personal, and relational vulnerability, whereby functional or compassionate relationships within customary social contexts become virtual or entirely impossible. We define those who live in these circumstances, whether temporarily or permanently, as homeless.” (NPI, 2003)

Homelessness Statistics

In 2012, more than 27,000 people were homeless in the Netherlands. Around 50% of them were migrants and 40% come from non-Western countries. Nearly half of all homeless people are found in the biggest cities: Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, and Rotterdam (CBS, 2010).

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