Jess & Becca lead the way for Women’s Football in Merseyside

Pictures by Chris McIntyre

This week Everton in the Community arranged a small training session led by Rachel Brown for some of the girls who have been taking part in the selection process for the Homeless World Cup. Many media outlets were keen to take a look at the stars of the show; Jessica Lomax & Rebecca Mushrow who will be travelling to Mexico next week.

 

LHFC sent along our very own volunteer journalist Declan McSweeney to update us with the latest instalment of the ‘Road to Mexico’ adventure…

Liverpool Homeless Football Club (LHFC) has been in existence since 2007, and is linked to the Homeless FA, who were recently established to co-ordinate the National Team going to the 2012 Homeless World Cup.

While initially the focus was solely on homeless men, in latter months, women have begun to get involved. Two young local women, Jessica Lomax (pictured right) from Huyton and Becca Mushrow from Toxteth, have been selected as part of the England team which will be involved in the Homeless World Cup in Mexico City, starting on October 6 and continuing to October 14.
As part of the selection process for Mexico, the Homeless FA & LHFC have worked closely with Everton in the Community to deliver a 6 week course this summer, and when you visit a training session, you will see that the women are dressed in Everton gear. (In addition to Everton, the Homeless FA also engaged other clubs around England to support the initiative in their own areas , namely Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal.)
Henry Mooney, Engagement Officer, Everton in the Community, said that the project gave the women a chance to qualify for Community Sports Awards. He stressed that it gave them greater confidence and helped them make friends.
One of the players, Gillian Velkoza, said she started playing just six weeks ago, and is hoping to get a team organised in Liverpool’s Whitechapel Centre. Her twin sister (they are, in fact, two of triplets), Louise, got involved at the same time, and says she is ‘excited’ about getting involved, and wants to train as a football coach.

Chairman of LHFC John Finnigan was pleased to reveal that training for Women on Merseyside will continue with weekly LHFC sessions delivered by Rachel Brown. This will commence towards the end of October and John added ‘we are keen to build on the success and enthusiasm created over the summer’. Stay tuned for more information on this.
Jess Lomax has been playing football since she was 10, but only got involved in LHFC four months ago. She hopes to become a professional player.

Becca Mushrow has also played since she was a child and is looking forward to a ‘once in a lifetime experience’ in Mexico. She adds she is ‘lucky to be coached by Rachel and Fara”, referring to Rachel Brown and Fara Williams (Becca & Fara in action below).

Rachel, a goalkeeper with Everton’s ladies’ team, has also played for England and was on Team GB during the Olympics. She has been a patron of LHFC for the past six years and is full of praise for its work. Fara Williams, who is a national patron of the Homeless FA, has been an England captain, and has personal experience of homelessness.

Last year’s Homeless World Cup was won by Scotland, which is again entering this year, while Wales is entering for the first time. There is no team from Northern Ireland, though there is one from the Republic of Ireland. In all, over 50 countries will be represented at the Mexican games.

The Homeless World Cup Foundation explains that it “uses the power of football to attract homeless people and offer them the chance to change their lives.

Homelessness can force people into isolation, which affects their ability to share, communicate their thoughts and work with others. Day-to-day survival needs take priority over longer term planning – often resulting in a chaotic lifestyle.”

It adds “When a homeless person gets involved in football they communicate and build relationships with others; they become teammates, learning to trust and share; they have a responsibility to attend training sessions and games, to be on time and prepared to participate. They feel part of something.

These skills and attributes are all transferable to daily life and therefore help homeless people see that they can change their lives.

Our National Partners provide, or provide access to, the professional services needed – educational, employment, health or legal advice. National Partners also run tournaments and trials to select the eight players who make the journey to the annual tournament each year, and support them in making the most of this experience on their return afterwards… moving on in their lives and becoming the models and ambassadors for other homeless people in their countries.

Whilst the national teams are important and the players go on to have a life-changing experience at the tournament, they are only the tip of the iceberg and represent only a small proportion of the people positively impacted by our work.”

For further information on the games, see http://www.homelessworldcup.org/

LHFC Appoint an Official Photographer

Some of you may have noticed a familiar face turning up to LHFC events recently. Or, some of you might have noticed a number of excellent photographs being displayed by LHFC? Well this is all down to Chris McIntyre, the latest addition to the team of LHFC volunteers.

 

Chris has been involved with the club since May 2012 and this summer he was appointed as the Official Club Photographer. Chris has shown real dedication in attending a variety of events but most of all, LHFC are very proud he has taken up the role because he has such tremendous talent.

 

Chris is 26 and has suffered from homelessness in the past few years. He was living in a hostel when he began attending a CRISIS course on Photography. Chris was immediately hooked, he began learning and practising and it’s hard to believe he has only been taking photographs in the past 12 months! He is totally enthused by his new focus in life and will happily tell you that taking photographs is a release for him and a perfect way to express his creative side! LHFC are delighted to give him opportunities to practice his new skills and hope we can help him to build a career in photography.

We caught up with him to ask him his story and this is what he had to say…

 

“I’ve been a member of Liverpool homeless football club since May 2012 and enjoy being an active member of the club. I like taking photos of the beautiful game and seeing the way people’s lives are changed through the club. My life has changed since being a member of the club.

 

My life changed when I started crisis skylight and was going to classes at the Salvation Army where the hostel have got a team that played at the pits in the Homeless League. That is where I first got asked to take a photo of Rachel Brown for The Liverpool Echo – which was a big achievement for me. I feel alive when I am taking photos of footballers and want a career doing this.

 

I had a hard past, going to jail and life situations that made me get in to trouble with the police. Since doing photography I have not been arrested for 2 years and now living back home after being in a bail hostel for some time. It is taking these photos which keeps me calm and in control of my life. I look forward to seeing the good work that the club is going to do in the future with the homeless and thank them for giving me the opportunity to make something of my life.”

 

Most of the photos on this website are from Chris’ camera. If you are interested in Chris or any of his pictures please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Joy for LHFC as England Squads for Homeless World Cup Announced!

Liverpool Homeless Football Club are delighted to reveal that Becca Mushrow & Jessica Lomax have been selected to represent England at this year’s Homeless World Cup in Mexico next month!

The Homeless World Cup is an international charity that organises an annual football tournament in a different destination each year. It is a great opportunity to bring together charities from all over the world that all use football to help bring about social change. This year it is being hosted by Mexico City and there will be 62 teams representing 54 different countries.

This year is the first time that England will have a Women’s team as well as a Men’s. The selection for both squads was organised by the Homeless FA and the process began way back in June this year.

LHFC have always worked closely with the Homeless World Cup and have been successful in previous years in helping to form the national squads. This year LHFC were delighted to assist in the new selection process. The club organised an application day where LHFC staff were on hand to help players to fill out the initial application forms.

Training Camps

On the strength of their applications, we were proud to see that seven of our men were selected to attend the Homeless FA’s training camps at Manchester United and no less than 19 women were selected to join the Homeless FA’s training camp with Everton.

The Training Camps at Manchester United and Everton were a great success and LHFC were delighted to see 26 of our players completing a week long experience at these premier league football clubs. The weeklong training camp consisted of training sessions, tours of the stadiums and the completion of a sports leadership qualification.

LHFC’s Sean Lennon said “I’ve had a fantastic time,  what an experience?! and i’d like to thank LHFC for all their support in making it happen”. Sean (in action below; tipping over a shot at Manchester United’s Cliff Training ground) has not only completed his sports leadership award but is now doing a GNVQ in plumbing thanks to LHFC & Everton in the Community.

Finals Day

After the training camps, the Homeless FA had to narrow the field down to a final 30 players to attend a ‘finals day’ at Manchester United’s Carrington Training Ground. LHFC were once again well represented. Les Bjelland (pictured below) was in the running to be the England goalkeeper and 8 girls were also in contention for a place in the Women’s Team (pictured above; Michaela Otoole, Rebecca Mushrow, Lisa Smith, Marie Duffy, Jessica Lomax, Marie Cherry, Jemma Mckeown & Kim Green).

The finals day was another fantastic experience for all the players. Everyone at LHFC was so proud that they had all made it this far – down to the last 60 in the country!

Chairman John Finnigan proudly told all the players that through their commitment and behaviour; every one of them had been a credit to the club and a credit to themselves. He went on to add that “what they have all achieved is incredible and is only the start. They should all take this as a massive confidence boost and aim for the stars”.

LHFC are happy to reveal that Jessica Lomax and Becca Mushrow were both successful and have been asked to represent the England Women’s Team in Mexico next month. We would like to congratulate Jess & Becca, wishing them all the best for the next step in their adventure!

We would also like to congratulate all of our players who were absolutely magnificent throughout the whole selection process! Keep your chins up and we hope to see you back involved very soon!

Stay tuned for more information about future LHFC activities and updates on Jess & Becca!

Pride of Merseyside

Liverpool Homeless Football Club win the Community Group Award at this year’s Echo Pride of Merseyside Awards.

The annual event, sponsored by SE Group, was held this year at the prestigious Hilton Hotel in Liverpool One. The awards evening was organised by the Liverpool Echo and brought together the great and the good from across the region.

Alaistair Machray, Editor of the Liverpool Echo, opened the evening by explaining that “Tonight is a wonderful opportunity to recognise the extraordinary achievements of people & organisations who, day after day, hour after hour, put others ahead of themselves.”

Machray handed over to local favourites Liz McClarnon (Atomic Kitten) & Andrew Lancel (Coronation STreet & The Bill) who took enormous pleasure in introducing 9 different awards. The categories included:

Courageous Child Award

Education Award Friend Award

Merseyside Community Award

Arts Award

Fat Gary Sports Sporting Achievement Award

Community Group Award

Charity Organisation Award

Pride of Merseyside Award

Liz and Andrew were joined by a host of local celebrities in announcing the winners of each category. It had to be said that all the nominations were truly remarkable and listening to their achievements was a humbling experience for all. The judges really had their work cut out to select the winner in each category.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the loudest cheer of the night came when LHFC were announced as the winners of the Community Group Award. Hollyoaks star Alex Fletcher revealed that the winners “consistently helped some of the most marginalised members of our society to turn their lives around”.

Chairman John Finnigan (pictured above right next to Vice Chair Mervyn Lynch) was over the moon. “This award is fantastic recognition for all the hard work that has been put in by everyone associated with LHFC. Thank you so much”.

As well as the volunteer staff of LHFC, three players were also present at the evening event; Steve Williamson, Aaron Flaherty (both pictured above) & James Buckley were there representing the hundreds of homeless people that have been helped by LHFC. Aaron revealed “Winning this award tonight means more to me that when I won my recent player of the season award”.

James Buckley claimed that “This award is perfect, and LHFC deserve it. They have done so much and it’s just the beginning.” Steve Barton (Club Secretary) and Mervyn Lynch were of a similar opinion discussing how this award can help to catapult us where we want to be.

Ben Carpenter who is now working as a project officer for LHFC summed it up when he said “Winning the award is the icing on the cake for what has been a great week for the club”.

Watch this space for more information.

 

Buy a Charitees shirt: “Where Home Is The Goal”

IT Answers & QuadroNation are an IT business based in Liverpool. They have teamed up with LHFC to produce a stunning design for a charity tee-shirt.

 

Sold through the online website; Charitees, all profits from the sales go directly to LHFC to help us run our project.

 

Check out the product and feel free to buy one at the following site:

http://www.charitees.org.uk/homeless-football.php