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National partner profile: Wales

Street Football Wales

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Street Football Wales is a social inclusion project run in Wales. They run street football leagues across Wales, select the Welsh Homeless World Cup Team, and pride themselves on providing a supportive and non-judgemental environment to those who have been rejected by society and offer them a way to improve their situation.

Street Football Wales are helped in achieving their mission by their national ambassadors, who are important figures in Welsh football: Ashley Williams (Swansea City defender and national team player), Loren Dykes (Bristol Academy and national team player), Ash Randall (professional football freestyler and 17 times Guinness world record holder), and Cheryl Foster (Wales’ most capped player and record goal scorer).

Their street football leagues are made up of teams whose members are aged 16 and above, who face social exclusion as a result of homelessness, substance abuse, mental health problems, and other challenges.

Some team members may be long-term unemployed or involved in the criminal justice system, but all are facing daily barriers to being part of the society and communities they live in, caused by the ever-present stigma attached to their situations. For many, fighting for acceptance and constantly facing rejection and discrimination has left them feeling as though their only option is to give up and stop trying to fit in at all.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Street Football Wales promote social inclusion and encourage individuals to take an active role in their own lives through achievement and self-development. Their aim is to improve the lives and opportunities for socially excluded people in Wales.

Their values are effort, commitment, discipline, motivation, enthusiasm, respect, fun, passion, and friendship.

Street Football Wales help people who have reached their lowest ebb. It offers them an opportunity to become involved with a team where they will not be judged or stigmatised.

Goals for the future

Capacity Expansion

To increase staffing levels and to increase board membership and skills

Women's Programmes

To secure further funding for women’s participation

Additional information

Football Activities

Weekly football training and street football leagues; national and international tournaments throughout the year.

Non-football services

SFW offer direct support or referral to specialist services, volunteering opportunities, and a training and education programme.

Participants challenges

Substance abuse, mental health problems, social exclusion

Country challenges

In 2013, 23% of people (about 700,000) in Wales lived on less than 60% of the average UK wage (Oxfam, 2013). According to Save The Children, Wales also has the highest child poverty rate in the UK (BBC, 2014).

Homlessness definition

According to the UK legislation, a person is homeless if they have no accommodation available; or if they have 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 them to continue to occupy it (See full definition in the Housing Act, 1996).

Homelessness Statistics

More than 15,000 people sought council help for being homeless in Wales during 2011 (BBC, 2012). Between July to September 2014, 1,365 households applied to be considered homeless. At the end of September 2014, there were 2,300 households in temporary accommodation (Welsh Government, 2014).

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