Funding gives former homeless chance to volunteer at Homeless World Cup

Homeless World Cup 2016A new initiative offering formerly homeless people the chance to volunteer at the 2016 Homeless World Cup has scored a Big Lottery Fund grant of £343,353.

Aiming to create a lasting legacy from July’s Homeless World Cup, the Glasgow Life led project will recruit and train 200 people to volunteer in a variety of roles on and off the pitch, as well as gaining new skills and confidence though a post games programme of sports coaching, and creative writing. Of those volunteering, up to half will be people who have been homeless at one point in their lives.

The initiative will allow former homeless people to share their stories and reconnect with their communities, and will be accompanied by a national media campaign, aimed at challenging some of the myths and misconceptions about homelessness.

Announcing the funding, Big Lottery Fund Scotland chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “The Homeless World Cup inspires people to change their life for the better. That is an aim shared with us at the Big Lottery Fund as we want our funding to make a truly life-changing and inspirational difference to people across Scotland. This volunteering initiative is unique not just for the impact it will have on people during the event but afterwards as well through a range of sports and cultural activities. We know from our previous funding that Glasgow Life has a proud record of delivering volunteering opportunities at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and this is another legacy project which we are delighted to support.”

Glasgow Life will deliver its legacy project in partnership with Glasgow City Council’s Social Work team, and the Glasgow Homelessness Network. This will build on their Big Lottery funded Host City volunteer programme which helped to deliver a successful 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Councillor Archie Graham OBE, the depute leader of Glasgow City Council and chair of Glasgow Life, said: “During the Commonwealth Games, our Host City Volunteers provided an incredibly warm welcome to visitors enjoying the festival of sport and cultural celebrations. A large number of those involved had previously faced barriers to volunteering – but with our support, not only did they enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but many found their lives changed for the better.

“We will now build on that legacy, with this incredible opportunity for volunteers to support the Homeless World Cup. They will be the heart and soul of the event, providing a warm welcome and smile – but for many, the experience will be much more personal, having experienced homelessness in their own lives.

“Once the competition in George Square has concluded, our support will continue, with mentors, coaching and pathways to continued physical activity which will boost not only the volunteers’ health, but their wellbeing. I’m delighted and most grateful that, once again, the Big Lottery Fund is supporting this fantastic initiative.”

How George Square will look during the Homeless World Cup
How George Square will look during the Homeless World Cup

Up to 100,000 spectators are expected to attend the tournament in Glasgow’s George Square. The competition starts on Sunday 10 July and runs until Saturday 16 July 2016. Entry is free every day, and tickets are not required. In total, 64 teams, representing 52 countries, will come together to celebrate and highlight the year-round, life-changing work of the Homeless World Cup National Partner network. More than 500 players will arrive in Glasgow each with their own story to tell, their own point on a journey to create a better life for themselves.

Mel Young, co-founder of the Homeless World Cup, added: “This is a significant announcement from Glasgow today, made possible with this generous Big Lottery Fund grant. When we revealed that the Homeless World Cup would be coming here, we said we knew that the people of this fantastic city would embrace the tournament, and the values we stand for. This news is further evidence of our strong partnership with the city. It is vital that our celebration of hope must live on after the tournament ends, and we’re sure that this volunteering programme will be a force for good for a long time to come.”

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