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 just closed the application process for its 2013 Training Centre programme. This year we are working with nine professional football clubs across England: Arsenal, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bristol City, Derby County, Hull City, Manchester United, Norwich City, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion. We look forward to another successful year with our players, the clubs and the homelessness services that support them.
The application process for the 2013 Homeless FA Training Centres is now live.
Our Training Centre partners in 2013 are Arsenal, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bristol City, Derby County, Hull City, Manchester United, Norwich City, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion.
Players are required to complete an application form and submit it to the Homeless FA before the 12th April deadline.
Applications are open only to those who have experienced homelessness for over 3 months in the last year and priority will be given to players who have not already attended a Homeless FA Training Centre.
Each participating club will also run an Open Day. This day will include a stadium tour and serve as a broad invitation to local organisations and players.
Before completing the form please read the information sheet carefully as this will provide you with a greater understanding of the programme (including Open Days), as well as guidance
notes on the application process.
Before submitting your application, please ensure that all actions on the checklist have been completed.
There is also an exciting promotional poster that players and projects can download here.
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
The Homeless FA was excited to launch its partnership with the FA at a special Team England reception at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday 3rd October. The day also saw the launch of the new Umbro kit that will be worn by Team England at the Homeless World Cup in Mexico City.
The FA has agreed to support the Homeless FA in all areas our work, starting with secondary sponsorship of Team England and substantial financial backing for our teams in Mexico. The importance of the partnership was shown by the fact that the official welcome that the players received was from the FA’s Club England Managing Director Adrian Bevington. He spoke passionately about the significant work of the Homeless FA and the impressive achievements of our players. As part of his rousing speech he also talked of the opportunities that exist on and off the pitch at an international tournament and encouraged the teams to take part to the best of their abilities, and “represent England with pride”. He then wished our Team England staff and players the best of luck in Mexico and invited every member of the party to be VIP guests of the FA at a home international at Wembley on their return.
Coinciding with the launch of our full website, the day was also an opportunity for everyone who made the Training Centre pilot programme so successful to come together. This included delegates from Access to Sport, The Albion Foundation, The Manchester United Foundation and Bettertax. Our official Training Centre photographer Tom Bunning, who has been an important part of the programme, was also in attendance to complete his portrait project with the final 16.
As part of the FA’s VIP reception, the players were taken on a tour of Wembley Stadium, culminating in a visit to the home dressing room. Unbeknownst to the players, their personalised Homeless FA kit was hung on the pegs, and their reaction was a mix of shock, excitement and disbelief. Then, as so many great footballers (including our coaches Rachel Brown and Fara Williams) have done before, they were able to use the dressing room to change into their England kit, before taking part in a special Umbro kit launch photo shoot with sports photographer Philip Haynes. His handiwork can be seen above.
A joint address by Gareth Parker, Head of the Homeless FA, and Robert Sullivan, Head of Public Affairs for the FA, closed the special day, before the players boarded the team bus to take them to Heathrow ahead of their journey to Mexico.
Everybody at the Homeless FA would like to thank the FA for their incredible hospitality on the day and generous support of our work.
The Summer of 2012 saw a lot of great sporting firsts in England, including the pilot of the Homeless FA’s Training Centres, a ground-breaking programme of activity hosted by our football partners Arsenal, Everton, Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion. Replacing the previous trials system as the selection process for the Homeless World Cup, the Training Centres allowed the Homeless FA to assess all players whilst they enjoyed an incredible professional footballers’ experience.
From Durham to Brighton, 90 men and 50 women came from all over the country to take part, all of who had been identified through our written applications process. These mirrored job applications and asked players to identify strengths, weaknesses, challenges that they had overcome and the obstacles they recognised in the future. Over 500 applications were received for the Training Centres, and the huge variety of applicants reinforced the message that our programmes are opportunities open to all people in England experiencing homelessness, regardless of football ability.
Our Community partners came to the fore during the application process by helping facilitate the players’ submissions. They did this through workshops, mock interviews, computer access and other relevant support. We are now looking at how we can gather and share these great ideas that offer added value for players to benefit from this process.
The Training Centres themselves were run over five days and were hosted by our football partners Arsenal in the Community, Everton in the Community, Manchester United Foundation and West Bromwich Albion Foundation. The football element of our Everton Training Centre was delivered by our Team England Women coaches, Olympians Rachel Brown and Fara Williams (see picture). Retention levels across the Training Centres were unprecedented, with all having above 80% of the original intake completing the programme. This was a huge achievement for the players as there were challenging workshop sessions that addressed leadership, communication, employability and other life skills. As part of the sports qualification modules every player also had to lead a coaching session, and complete session plans, risk assessments and evaluations. Throughout every session – whether on the football pitch or in the classroom – the emphasis was on personal development and supporting players to increase their self-confidence, self-esteem, and help them to improve stress management, all areas that we’d seen almost universally identified as ‘challenges’ or ‘weaknesses’ in players applications.
Joining us for the Training Centres was photographer Tom Bunning, who is responsible for all the images that you are able to see in the Football Gallery (link). He also undertook a special portrait project with the players wearing club kit and cast in the role of heroic footballers. By becoming a real part of the Training Centre process Tom was able to intimately capture all the players with incredible, and often beautiful, result. All participating players received a large print of their portrait after course completion.
Supporting the Homeless FA and our football partners throughout the process were our regional coordinators. These were volunteers taken from our Community who have consistently demonstrated good practice in using football as a way to engage and support people experiencing homelessness. Our regional coordinators came from Crewe YMCA, Start Again Project and AIR Football and they all played an integral role in the success of the project, from their input during the planning process to their support of the Homeless FA and football when the activity was delivered. This support included the monitoring of the players’ involvement during football training sessions, classroom work, attendance, communication and leadership, all of which allowed us to select 30 men and 20 women to attend our national Team England Day.
Team England day was an opportunity to celebrate achievement, as well as the chance to observe every player in a competitive football situation. The day was hosted by Manchester United and included a VIP reception and stadium tour at Old Trafford and 4-a-side mini tournaments at their first team facility at Carrington. The players were welcomed to Carrington by former Manchester United player, and now Director of their Youth Academy, Brian McClair (see picture). Using observations from the day, alongside those from the Training Centres, we were able to select our Team England squads for the Homeless World Cup.
We are already looking forward to the 2013 Training Centre and Team England programme, which we will roll out across the country at even more football clubs, and would like to say an enormous thank you to every player who took part in the programme this year. Arsenal and Everton have also reflected on the Training Centres.
2012 is the first year that England is sending both a men’s team and a women’s team for the Homeless World Cup, and we are delighted to announce the names of the 8 men and 8 women who will represent England in Mexico City this October. All 16 players showed incredible progress and commitment throughout the Training Centre process, and we cannot wait to see them wear the Homeless FA’s 3 lions in Mexico.
Our 2012 Team England squads are:
Men: Mark Wilks, Paul Thompson, Billy Wise, Marco Ramos, Anthony Williams-White, Shaunray Thomas, Emmanuel Bockarie and Aaron Ranieri.
Women: Mauva Hunte-Bowlby, Louise Jones, Rosie Martin, Jayde Tew, Sophie Surridge, Becca Mushrow, Jodie Osborne and Jess Lomax.
For up to date news on the progress of Team England in Mexico please visit our blog. You can also watch their matches on the Homeless World Cup website.