Liverpool Homeless FC are a homeless charity which uses sport to help improve the lives of men and women across the city. We spoke to chairman, John Finnigan to find out more…
Tell us a bit about Liverpool Homeless FC. What exactly do you do and when did you start up?
The club was set up in October 2007. We are a Community Interest Company which is a non-profit organisation. We provide sporting opportunities for homeless men and women. Our objective is to raise awareness of homelessness and the issues that surround it.
We pride ourselves on being a community club and we’re involved all year round attending community fairs, an Easter Egg hunt and a Christmas present appeal for children in family hostels as well as a Christmas day drop in.
We have won a few awards in 2012 namely the Liverpool Echo Community Group Pride of Merseyside Award and last year won Liverpool Night of Honour, Community Group and Health and Well-being award.
Are you involved with other organisations & projects?
We are involved with 18 homeless organisations across Merseyside which include the YMCA, Mas, Newstart, First Place and Big Issue.
How is the club funded? Do you have any events coming up?
As a CIC there are small funding pots provide by both sponsorship and donations. If anybody would be interested in donating we can be contacted at email@example.com
We having the Domestic Violence Cup coming in May 2014 and also the Michael Causer Foundation Fundraising Event which will be a match for the Lord Mayor’s Charity between the Mersey Marauders and LHFC to raise awareness of homelessness and homophobia. We are linked in with LCVS and the County FA Power League.
Liverpool is not the only city with an organisation such as yourselves. Do you collaborate with other cities’ charities?
We are linked to Middlesbrough Homeless Football Club, Crewe YMCA and Manchester Homeless Football Club.
We have also had games against a project from Oxford, and we liaise a lot with David Duke who runs an amazing project called Street Soccer Scotland.
There is also a national team isn’t there, backed by the Homeless FA? What is your link with Team England? Do you expect to have anyone representing Liverpool Homeless FC at the Homeless World Cup in Santiago this year?
Our link to Team England is that we provide opportunities for our players to register for the Homeless FA’s registration process. The Homeless FA are an organisation who run the application process to allow people to play for Team England. We assist our players in filling out the application forms for the opportunity to play for Team England.
This is now the eleventh year of the Homeless World Cup and so far every year we have had a player representing Liverpool so we hope to continue with this success.
Two of last year’s players will be peer mentors for Team England, and we’re hoping to have a few players go on to play for Team England.
Do you have to be good at football to get involved?
It is not about your ability it is about engaging in an activity and most of all having fun.
Do you have a woman’s team? I hear you have a special VIP coaching the girls.
Yes we have a woman’s team who is coached by Everton Ladies’ Fara Williams and we were National Champions!
Do you see your work making a difference in the lives of homeless participants?
Over the past seven years our success has ranged from some players moving on and going to college and into full time employment, and others joining the club becoming either volunteers or full time members of staff.
We see ourselves as a platform to help people move on and progress their lives building a more safe and secure future.
When do the teams play?
The woman play in the County FA Futsal League on a Monday night with training on a Thursday at the Power League 4-5pm and the men play in the CMS League on a Saturday afternoon and train on a Thursday 5-6pm at Everton Park Sports Centre. The Liverpool Homeless Football Club League play the last Tuesday of every month at the Power League 10-3pm.
How do homeless people get involved and can anyone volunteer to offer their own time and skills?
Anybody interested in playing can contact us through their support worker at their hostel or directly to us. Volunteers are always welcome and we can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 07518 853 053.
Do you notice that your work improves people’s confidence in themselves?
It is all about engaging in an activity in a safe and secure environment where they do not feel they are being judged and their confidence can naturally grow.
Does the club help to change people’s perceptions of homeless people and what they are capable of achieving?
I would definitely say that it changes people’s perceptions. We try and give people a better understanding and raise awareness not just locally but also internationally that our players are capable of achieving a more secure future with our help and support
Like in all major cities homelessness is a problem and is something we are striving to raise awareness of.
How has the city of Liverpool responded to your work tackling homelessness?
The city has responded in a really positive way recognising our efforts and achievements by honouring us with several awards (which are named above).