for more inspirational stories like this read the case studies; Players section
Aaron came out of prison in February 2011 and due to his dependency on drugs and alcohol he became homeless. He was lucky to get a place at the Phoenix Futures Residential in the Wirral where he began his rehabilitation.
The turnaround in fortunes for Aaron has been incredible. In the last 12 months he has worked with the staff to cure his addictions and he now has a really healthy lifestyle; “for the last 12 months I’ve been drink and drug free” Aaron proudly told me, “and my fitness is getting better and better all the time – I’m currently training for the Liverpool half marathon in March – I’ll be running to raise money for the Phoenix Centre”.
Aaron has worked really hard and is grateful for the help of all the staff at the phoenix centre. After attending the rehab residential centre at Phoenix Futures, Aaron moved into supported housing and is now on the verge of getting his own flat.
On top of this, Aaron is currently at Wirral College two days a week studying for a level two certificate in Health & Social Care.
Aaron tells me that he really loves going to college but you can tell that his real passion is football. When I ask him why he likes the LHFC project he laughs and says “It’s brilliant isn’t it!! I love football, I thought my playing days were over to be honest – but as long as my knees allow it I’ll be coming here to play”.
Aaron’s goal is to represent England at the Homeless World Cup in Mexico this October. I thought you’d retired from international football I asked? “No – I’ve changed my mind now!”
Chris (front row second from the left)
Chris is another inspirational member of the Phoenix Futures 5 a side team and like some of his team mates he has a similar story to tell…
Chris told me that he was suffering from his addiction to the point where he was committing crimes at night just to feed his habits during the day – “it wasn’t me – I’m normally a happy and outgoing person!”
After coming out of jail in 2009 he became homeless until he moved in to the Phoenix Futures Residential in the Wirral. It was here that his road to recovery began to take shape; progressing from the rehabilitation centre to supported housing in 2010 and then moving into his own place in 2011.
Chris was proud to tell me that he now has a girlfriend who he lives with and they are expecting their first child together. His life is turned around completely but he was keen to point out to me and his team mates that “You should not be scared to talk about your past” – something he learned from the phoenix centre.
Chris now has a job at the Jaguar Plant in Halewood but he still joins in with the football because he has always got so much from it. “I just want to give something back – the project helped me so I want to help others who are going through the things I went through”.
I’m about to ask him what it is he likes about the project but it’s too late – the ref is summoning the teams and a match is about to get under way… “We’re going to win the league someone shouts” and with that he’s off!