Tomorrow, Team England will depart for Amsterdam to take part in the 2015 Homeless World Cup. Team England’s Men’s and Women’s squads will line up alongside 62 other nations in a unique football event opened by the King of the Netherlands. They’re excited to get started, with some of the team travelling abroad for the first time.
“I can’t believe the level of pride my housemates have shown in me for being part of Team England. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, blessed and lucky is how I’d describe it; this opportunity has been life changing.” – Dan Keenan, Team England.
“I didn’t think it was real when I got the call to play for Team England. I was really chuffed. I’m most looking forward to meeting the team and it will be the first time I’ve ever been abroad so I’m really looking forward to meeting people from different countries.” – Lauren McDonald, Team England.
The first international activity for the newly selected Team England squad begins this week with the Futebol de Rua tournament in Braga, Portugal. Before heading to Braga to join the rest of the teams the dquad of fourteen men and women stayed in Lisbon for workshops, training and even a small amount of sightseeing.
The workshop session began today with the squad receiving their hero portraits – individual images of them wearing their new Team England kit – as part of their exercise books . We spoke to Gavin, who came through our Derby County FC Training Centre, about his photo and his experience so far in Portugal.
“I was very pleased with my photograph. I don’t usually like getting my photo taken but this is the best picture of me I’ve ever seen, I’m very happy with it.”
He says the hero portrait reflected his wider experience with Team England, presenting him with opportunities he’d never had before,
“Everything I’ve experienced with Team England has been a once in a lifetime sort of thing, like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.
“It was a little bit nerve-wracking on the plane but I think I styled it out. I’m 34 in a couple of months and it’s the first time I’ve been on a plane and been abroad. I owe the Homeless FA so much, really, so much.”
We’ll be updating our Captains’ blogs from this evening. This morning we’re travelling on the train to Braga, where we’ll be based for the rest of the week.
The Homeless FA today unveiled the new match day kit for Team England 2015. The launch of the new kit features five players from this year’s 40-strong squad of people who have experienced homelessness and will be participating in various international activities this year, including the Homeless World Cup.
Squad member Richard Jamieson said: “They look amazing, and I’m proud to be part of this whole experience.”
The white with black trim Nike home shirt and classic green goalkeeper jersey feature key sponsors The Supporter’s Club, BT Sport’s charitable initiative, and bears the logo of partner organisations Kick It Out and Copa 90. The squad will be wearing their strip on all international duty, starting this week when 16 players jet out to Braga, Portugal to participate in the Rua de Futebol.
The Homeless FA is an affiliate partner of the Football Association, including financial support via the FA Community Shield Fund and assistance in the Homeless FA’s relationship with Nike. The Supporters Club funding has allowed the Homeless FA to run their football training camp across 11 clubs and will support Team England on their journey to the Homeless World Cup
Current and former Manchester City goalkeepers Joe Hart and David James joined us to celebrate the launch of our partnership with BT Sport’s The Supporters Club yesterday.
Joe Hart, James Shaw, James Buckley and David James at Manchester City’s Football Academy
The partnership, which will see The Supporters Club make a substantial grant to support our Team England and Training Centre programme, was unveiled during a special event at Manchester City’s new Football Academy that will soon play host to our City in the Community Training Centre.
Homeless FA supporters Joe and David were joined by James Buckley and James Shaw, who have come through Homeless FA programmes, and are now part of our Player Progression Programme that will see them both help to deliver our Manchester City Training Centre.
James Shaw and David James being put through their paces
During the session, James Buckley, the Homeless FA’s new Head of Coaching, took everyone through a range of specialist street soccer goalkeeping drills, before James Shaw shared his inspirational journey, including his experience of keeping goal for England at the Homeless World Cup in Chile last year.
The Supporters Club aims to build a better world through sport by changing the lives of disadvantaged young people. Funds are raised thanks to BT Sport customers choosing to add an additional £1, £3 or £5 to their monthly BT Sport bill as a donation. It has raised over £3.5 million from BT Sport customers and BT. So far The Supporters Club has partnered with Comic Relief to fund 27 sport-inspired community projects – 17 in the UK and 10 overseas, with over 94,000 people now giving monthly donations.
James Buckley, Joe Hart, James Shaw and David James enjoying the day
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “The work of the Homeless FA’s Training Centre programme is a vibrant example of how the sport can provide a rich pathway for those experiencing challenges in their lives. The programme is proven to increase confidence and physical fitness with a range of pathways that many go on to take – including education, training, employment and perhaps even joining Team England. Today’s news typifies the significant good that BT Sport and our viewers are achieving together through the Supporters Club.”
Gareth Parker, Head of the Homeless FA, said: “Our Training Centre and Team England programmes give socially excluded adults the empowering opportunity to develop their skills and abilities whilst improving their health and gaining self-respect and confidence. The football is important, but it’s what happens off the pitch that matters most. So far, more than half of the men and women who have completed Homeless FA programmes go on to achieve more qualifications, with two thirds improving their housing situation, and the same amount gaining employment. Thanks to the support of The Supporters Club we will be able to give even more people the confidence and tools to transform their lives.”
We are now accepting 2015 Training Centre applications, and are excited to announce that three new Premier League clubs have come on board this year to deliver our award-winning programme. Everton, Manchester City and Southampton join our established Training Centre partners: Aston Villa, Arsenal, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bristol City, Derby County, Fulham, Hull City, Norwich City and Sunderland.
Applications are open to all socially excluded individuals, though priority will be given to those who have experienced homelessness in the last year and who have not previously attended a Homeless FA Training Centre.
Jacqueline, 18, who took part in the Homeless FA’s Training Centre at Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club in 2014, said: “Being part of the Brighton Training Centre was amazing. From the moment I arrived I was made to feel like an important part of the club. We were treated like professionals and given official kit to wear and a contract to sign, before meeting first team players and training at incredible facilities.”
“Having mentors and coaches who had been in my shoes made me realise what I could achieve. Playing for England was great, but since completing the Training Centre I found the confidence get a job and start university. The Homeless FA played a huge part in getting me on track.”
Please visit our Training Centre page for more information, including how to download an application pack and apply online. You can also request a pack by calling 020 7423 6888 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Homeless FA is excited to finally unveil the 2014 Team England kit.
This special Nike kit features the logo of our key partner Kick it Out, as well as those of our partner professional clubs and Centrepoint.
Team England will wear the kit for the first time at the Dutch International Street Cup in Amsterdam today.
Every Team England player will receive an individual print of their heroic picture at the end of the programme.
Photo credit Joana Freitas/Post production Metin Osman
The Homeless FA is thrilled to announce that we have merged with Centrepoint, the leading youth homelessness charity.
The merger was announced as our 2014 Homeless Team England squad gathered for the first time at the National Football Centre at St George’s Park. Training in such inspiring surroundings is a special privilege granted to us as an affiliate partner of the Football Association as part of their Club England structure.
Centrepoint’s Patron, Prince William, who is also the President of the Football Association, voiced his support for the merger: “As Patron of Centrepoint and President of the Football Association, I am delighted that Centrepoint has merged with the Homeless FA. Sport, and especially football, has the power to nurture important values such as teamwork, positivity, commitment and good health. These are exactly the kinds of values that Centrepoint instils in the homeless young people they support, so I look forward to the two organisations combining forces to help improve the lives of even more homeless people across England. I also wish Team England the best of luck in their forthcoming International activity including the Homeless World Cup.”
Team England players, including Centrepoint Young Person James Higgins, train at St George’s Park
Seyi Obakin, CEO of Centrepoint, said: “The Homeless FA has proven just how powerful a catalyst football can be in transforming the lives of people experiencing homelessness. As a founding partner, Centrepoint has supported its inspirational work from the beginning and merging is a natural step, as sharing resources and expertise will help us give more vulnerable people a future. We know that having a safe place to stay is just the start of the support needed to leave homelessness behind. A person’s confidence is all too often left shattered by facing homelessness but being part of team can be hugely powerful, particularly when representing your country. Through the Homeless FA’s work we will tackle the stigma around homelessness and support all our players in building their self-belief and finding a home and a job.”
Head of the Homeless FA, Gareth Parker, was equally enthusiastic about the merger: “I am incredibly excited about what this merger means to the Homeless FA and our work. Over the past three years the Homeless FA has shown how powerful a tool football can be, and that our innovative approach and progressive attitude really works. I am incredibly proud of the evidenced impact of our work to date, with 100% of our players reporting increased confidence levels, 67% achieving an accredited leadership qualification, 63% progressing into further education opportunities, 58% improving their housing situation and 29% gaining full-time employment. Together with Centrepoint, we will enable more people experiencing homelessness the empowering opportunity to positively transform their lives through football.”
The Homeless FA is proud to reveal the names of the 40 players who will make up our 2014 Team England squad:
Casey Addison-Sweeney (Fulham), Christopher Aitchison (Hull City), Tsion Balcha (Arsenal), Sarah Barr (Manchester United), Stacey Bridge (Manchester United), Josh Brinkman (Norwich City), John Campos (Norwich), Oliver Coker (Arsenal), Shannon Colbourne (Brighton & Hove Albion), Natalia Fahrni (Arsenal), Scott Fitzgerald (Manchester United), Jessica Gissing (Fulham), Rebecca Halpin (Manchester United), Corrina Heighton (Brighton & Hove Albion), James Higgins (Arsenal), Taylor Hitchcock (Aston Villa), Shaun Hood (Bristol City), Elizabeth Hunt (Derby County), Graham Ingram (Hull City), Marcus Jones (Aston Villa), Hannah Latham (Manchester United), Junior Linton (Fulham), Oliver Lovejoy (Fulham), Jahobi Maher (Brighton & Hove Albion), Leela Mariller (Bristol City), Fiona McGovern (Brighton & Hove Albion), Kyle McKay (Bristol City), Sam McKinven (Brighton & Hove Albion), Lee Nassau (Sunderland), Daniel Oram (Sunderland), Anna Randell (Aston Villa), Nathan Sidlauskas (Aston Villa), Cherrie Smith (Brighton & Hove Albion), James Statham (Manchester United), Jacqueline Thompson (Brighton & Hove Albion), David Thompson (Derby County), Samantha Trotter (Sunderland), Jordan Whyborne (Brighton & Hove Albion), Joe Williams (Derby County), Samantha Wintersgill (Sunderland).
Competition for these places was particularly high this year, with nearly 300 players taking part in the hugely successful Training Centre programme. The Homeless FA will endeavour to create as many opportunities for all our players, including those who were not selected for Team England.
Everyone at the Homeless FA is really looking forward to an fantastic Team England programme in 2014, and would like to thank everyone who has made this possible.
The Homeless FA is proud to launch its 2013 Annual Review. This document will give readers an insight into some of the organisation’s key achievements during a successful second year of operation.
Please click here to be taken to our publications page, where you will be able to read the full document. 2014 Training Centre report coming soon!
As part of their Women’s FA Cup final coverage on Sunday, the BBC aired a feature on the inspirational journey of the Homeless Football Association’s Patron Fara Williams, and the important role that she plays for us.
It focuses on our Manchester United Training Centre, and also includes information on our hugely successful Peer Mentor programme, headed up by the equally inspirational Rosie Martin. You can read the full supporting online article on the BBC website here.
Last night saw another another fantastic night of comedy at the world-famous Comedy Store in London, as some of comedy’s biggest names come together to say Balls to Homelessness, and raise much-needed money for the Homeless FA
Coming two days after Arsenal’s FA Cup victory, the room was still buzzing as Gooners (and big Homeless FA supporters) including Dara O’Briain, Milton Jones, Ian Stone and MC Romesh Ranganathan took to the stage.
‘Opposition’ was provided by the fantastic (Super Hoop) Sean Walsh.
To see more photographs from an amazing night, why not take a look at our Facebook fan page?
Over £6,000 pounds was raised from the night, with this money going towards our important work transforming lives through football.
Our 2014 Training Centre programme got underway yesterday with a fantastic first day at Bristol City.
Above is an example of our official photographer Tom Bunning’s images from the day, with one of his trademark hero portraits below.
Please note that we are still processing applications for some of the Training Centres with later start dates. All players who have secured a place on the programme will be informed by the 11th April 2014.
As exclusively announced on the Footballistically Arsenal podcast yesterday, people can now buy tickets for the next star-studded Balls to Homelessness fundraiser at the Comedy Store in London on Monday May 19th.
The bill includes Dara O’Briain, Milton Jones, Ian Stone, Romesh Ranganathan (pictured above at the last Balls to Homelessness night), Tom Davis, Jim Campbell & Joe Bor. There will also be at least one very special guest. A man who is a league of his own…
All Balls to Homelessness gigs have sold out before the night, so to make sure you don’t miss out you should buy your tickets here today!
This week the Homeless FA launched its very first national fundraising campaign.
The appeal, entitled ‘Be The Ball’, outlines the significant cost of running our programmes, and the urgent need for funds to continue our life-changing work. It explains that a football allows us to transform people’s lives, and that by donating supporters can be the ball. They can make the difference.
Look out for our eye-catching banners and articles that will be appearing on various websites over the next few weeks, including the Guardian, Football365 and Sky Sports.
Why don’t you be one of the first to Be The Ball?
This week the Homeless FA received confirmation that we have again been accepted into both male and female competitions at the 2014 Homeless World Cup in Chile.
We are also proud to share this article that was written about our work and appeared in the Guardian newspaper this week. Many thanks to Nick Miller for writing such a fantastic piece.
The 2014 Peer Mentor application process is now open for participants from the 2012 and 2013 Training Centre Programmes.
Homeless FA Peer Mentors will be in attendance throughout the Training Centres. Their role is to encourage and support players by drawing on their experience of a Homeless FA Training Centre. They will also select players for the 2014 Team England squad alongside football club staff.
The Peer Mentor application pack can be downloaded below. Applications must be received before Tuesday 28th January.
The Homeless FA is pleased to announce that the 2014 Training Centre Programme application process is now open!
In 2014, our Training Centre partners are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bristol City, Derby County, Fulham, Hull City, Manchester United, Norwich City and Sunderland.
Our Training Centres are a great experience and opportunity for all male and female players, regardless of football ability. The emphasis is on personal development, both on and off the pitch, and we support players to increase their self-confidence, self esteem, and offer help to improve stress management, teach leadership and a range of other life skills.
The Training Centres are currently the first step on the Team England ladder, with 20 men and 20 women eventually selected to form the squads. Activity for these squads will include the 2014 Homeless World Cup in Chile. Players are selected using assessment criteria in line with the Homeless FA’s vision, with particular focus on leadership, interpersonal and organisational skills and improved physical health.
Please download an application pack from our Training Centre page. This pack includes an information sheet (to provide you with a better understanding of the programme as well as guidance on the application process), a PDF application form, a promotional poster and a checklist. Players can also apply online here.
Applications must be submitted to the Homeless FA before 17.00 on Friday 28th February 2014. Please note that applications will only be considered for the players’ local Training Centre and transport cannot be funded.
Homeless FA’s Team England 2013 players recently came together at the National Football Centre at St George’s Park to celebrate the end of a special year.
The day was focused on recognising the achievements of every player, and setting goals for their futures. Proceedings were kicked off with an inspiring morning of ‘Believe FC’ activity run by the Manchester United Foundation.
Sunderland Foundation of Light then led the players in a special football training session in the incredible surroundings of the National Football Centre’s indoor arena. Following a large, laughter-filled lunch, the Sunderland coaches delivered the second part of their ‘Kick It – Health’ programme, focusing on diet and exercise lifestyle choices.
To close the day there was a very emotional screening of the Homeless FA short documentary detailing their experiences, before every player was presented with their Team England portrait to mark the end of their time as a Homeless FA player.
The day was a fitting end to a fantastic year. Everyone at the Homeless FA looks forward to working with many of the 2013 Team England players as part of the new Peer Mentoring programme in 2014.
To see more fantastic images from the day please click here.
The Homeless FA successfully piloted our first national street soccer tournament, the BetterTax HFA Cup, on 5th December 2013 at the Trafford Powerleague in Manchester.
The event was a chance for us to showcase our new form of 4-a-side football, as well as pilot a groundbreaking tournament structure with equal points being awarded for both result and fair play.
The day was a huge success with 100% of players, staff and spectators surveyed saying that they would like to take part in the tournament again. We are also happy to report that 100% believed that the event helped them to make new friends, 97% that it helped distract them from issues in their life and 97% that it made them feel part of something.
The Fair Play Points system was also well received, with 94% of those surveyed believing that it made them think more during a match and directly encouraged fair play.
Everyone at the Homeless FA would like to thank the staff and players from our fantastic Community Members who made the day such a success, as well as our fantastic sponsors Bettertax who made it all possible.
The male tournament was won by Start Again Project and the women’s tournament by Liverpool Homeless Football Club.
All the pictures from the day can be found on our Flickr page.
We are pleased to announce that a short film about our work has recently been completed and premiered last week on Sky Sports. We would like to thank everyone who made this possible. We have now uploaded the film to our YouTube channel, please take some time to watch it and share with as many people as possible.
The Homeless FA is pleased to announce the official Team England squad. The following players were selected through our 2013 Training Centre programme:
Arsenal Dan Fortune, Andre Hendricks, Ahmed Hussein, Louise Kirkby, Stacy Mills, Stacey Scannell, Bex Wallace
Brighton & Hove Albion Shanice Calcutt, Joe Lidster, Dion Spall, Nicole Webley
Bristol City Richie Jayden-Rich, Simon Wilson
Derby County Chetan Chauhan, Linda Love, Graham Roberts
Hull City Lindsey Williams, Simon Wilson, Toni Woroch
Manchester United Michael Edwards, Lisa Gornell, Sam Kelly, Lemuel Weeks
Norwich City Francis Campos, Kinsleigh Casimir, Daisy Evans, Pagan Lambert
Sunderland Ashleigh Allen, Nicole Andrew, Liam Naisby, Donald Wheatley
West Bromwich Albion Nicole Blissett, Kerry Griffiths, Jordan Harnett, Tom Queripel, Eve Symons
Selection of players for this squad was undertaken by football club staff, Training Centre Coordinators and Peer Mentors, with a particular focus on teamwork, positive communication and respect.
Throughout the 6 months spent as Team England these players will have the opportunity to train as part of the FA’s Club England at St George’s Park, participate in international football activity, and work on personal development plans, including a special Believe FC programme developed and delivered in partnership with Manchester Utd.
We are also very proud to announce that all Team England coaching and mentoring roles are filled by players who have previously been through the Team England programme. Head Coach James Buckley played in the 2011 Homeless World Cup for England before taking up the role of assistant coach in 2012 and Manchester United Training Centre Coordinator/Peer Mentor in 2013. His 7 assistants for all activity are drawn from the 2012 squad.
Every team Team England player will participate in at least one international tournament in 2013. These tournaments include the Portuguese Futebol de Rua tournament that took place in June, September’s inaugural Great British Street Cup in Edinburgh, the European Homeless Cup that we will host in partnership with Manchester United in November, and this month’s Homeless World Cup in Poznań.
As in 2012 we will be taking both a men’s and a women’s team to represent England at the Homeless World Cup. The teams that will be heading to Poznań are:
Stacey Scannell, Nicole Webley, Nicole Blissett, Lisa Gornell
Nicole Andrew, Bex Wallace, Daisy Evans, Toni Woroch
Chetan Chauhan, Donald Wheatley, Kinsleigh Casimir, Simon Wilson
Francis Campos, Jordan Harnett, Daniel Fortune, Lemuel Weeks
To keep up to date with Team England’s Polish adventure you can read the daily Homeless FA blog, written by the players themselves, follow the Homeless FA on Twitter and ‘Like’ us on Facebook. You can also watch all Team England matches on the Homeless World Cup website.
Team England 2013 will be officially launched on 8th August at a special FA event at St George’s Park. Ahead of this date six members of the Team England squad recently took part in the Futebol De Rua Tournament in Aveiro, Portugal as guests of CAIS, our international partners (and firm friends) in Portugal. The event was a huge success with the team winning the Fair Play Award and James Buckley being voted the Coach of the Tournament. To read more about the players’ experience please click here and you will be taken to their blog.
The Homeless FA’s 2012 Training Centres, run in partnership with professional football clubs, give homeless people across England the chance to develop their skills and transform their lives through football. The programme’s dedication to improving lives through learning has been recognised with the Learning through Sport Project Award as part of Adult Learners’ Week 18 – 24 May 2013.
Homeless FA Training Centres are five-day programmes run in partnership with professional clubs – Arsenal, Everton, Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion in 2012. Successful applicants in 2012 aimed to gain a leadership qualification, and received football training and a VIP experience and develop personal plans for their future. Learning was incentivised and players making progress in their personal development – including goals pertaining to accommodation, reducing alcohol or drug use and further education – had the chance to be selected for the Homeless World Cup.
One of our players from last year, Aaron, had this to share: “My experience with the Homeless FA has made me stronger and more determined to succeed. I am getting to where I want to be and now believe in myself. I have also made friends for life.”
The exceptional experience that our players had was down to the skills and commitment of staff from our football club partners. They do brilliant work in their local communities and created an atmosphere where learning was fun and accessible.
In 2012, 138 male and female participants from across England took part in the Training Centres, and from 2,795 contact hours almost all achieved an FA Junior Leaders qualification. Of those who took part in the World Cup, nearly two-thirds (63%) progressed to further education and nearly one in five (19%) gained employment.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said, “The achievements of this year’s NIACE Adult Learners’ Week winners are inspirational. Each winner demonstrates the life changing benefits education offers.”
David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said, “Each and every year during Adult Learners’ Week we are reminded, by all the award winners’ stories, just how much people can improve their lives through learning. It helps them become more involved in their communities and often gives them a brighter future to look forward to. I hope the dedication, enthusiasm and vision that Homeless FA’s 2012 Training Centres have used to give people the opportunity to progress in life through learning will inspire other projects and employers to see the positive impact learning can have on people and communities.”
The Homeless FA is proud to publish its first ever general report. The report introduces you to the Homeless FA – our vision, mission and who we are – and acknowledges, reflects upon, and shares the work done by the organisation in 2012, our first year of operation. It details all our work to date, and outlines the lessons already learned.
Within a year we have secured significant partnerships with market-leading organisations in homelessness, football and beyond. We have brought England International and Olympic star Fara Williams on board as our patron, worked with some incredible individuals, and made a real and positive difference to the lives of many homeless people across the country. But we are a very ambitious organisation, and will not be resting on our laurels. 2013 promises to be a year of substantial growth with an exciting expansion of our work.
To read all about it, download the full report here