Homeless League: Matchday Two – a Huge Success!

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Matchday Two of the Homeless League took place on Tuesday 27th November where the club highlighted the dangers of Gang Culture and Gun Crime. The day was launched by Anne O’Byrne, Liverpool Labour’s Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety. (see right) Anne is a keen supporter of Liverpool Homeless Football Club and was very happy to attend the match day to raise awareness of Liverpool City Council’s new Safe Haven initiative.

Representatives from the Community Safety Team were present to talk to players and explain about the Safe Havens. A representative explained: “Safe Havens are locations across the city that provide a feeling of security for threatened and vulnerable people and knowing that there is a secure place nearby they can go will help remove fear.” The power league venue on Whittle Street is a Safe Haven.

Alongside the Community Safety team, players were also able to talk to representatives from the Whitechapel Centre. The Whitechapel Centre is a leading homeless and housing charity for the Liverpool region. They work with people who are sleeping rough, living in hostels or struggling to manage their accommodation. Volunteers at the match day explained to players how they could access some of the many services that the Whitechapel provides. Click here for more information on the Whitechapel.

There was also lots of football on display as over 80 men had turned up to play for their hostels. There are three divisions of six teams each and the games are played under normal 5-a-side rules with 8minute halves. Each team plays each other so they are guaranteed five matches.

In Division One MAS (Men’s Accommodation & Support) continued their incredible start to the season by winning all of their games and preserving their 100% record so far! The other big movers in Division One were Aigburth Drive who won four out of their five fixtures and only narrowly losing to MAS 5-4.

In Division Two there looks to be a three way battle for the title developing between Liverpool YMCA, Homeground & the Ark. Homeground made huge progress by winning four and drawing their fifth game to take them top of the league at the end of Match Day 2! Keep your eyes on this Division for many more twists and turns!

Phoenix Futures are looking very strong and again looked impressive in Division Three. They are four points clear and have won all but one of their games so far this season! Can anyone stop them from securing promotion this year? Well I’m sure the Salvation Army & Shaw Street will have something to say about it and they are level on 12 points each!

Click Here for a look at the latest league tables.

LHFC Scoop Double Award at Liverpool’s Night of Honour

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Words by Ben Carpenter, Images by Chris McIntyre

Last night the Adelphi Hotel, in the centre of Liverpool, played host to the the prestigious “Liverpool’s Night of Honour” awards ceremony. Liverpool Homeless Football Club had been nominated for Liverpool’s Best Community Organisation Award and Club Secretary and founding member Steve Barton was up for Liverpool’s Health & Wellbeing Hero Award. We are ecstatic to announce that both awards were won on a magical night.

The event was billed by presenters Hope City Enterprise as ‘the most talked about annual award ceremony of the year’ and was attended by over 700 people. Roger Davies, director of Liverpool’s Night of Honour said “Tonight we are recognising ordinary people living extraordinary lives. Tonight is a celebration of the unsung heroes of our city and the region of Merseyside.”

The event was sponsored by 2020 Decade of Health & Wellbeing and Dave Campbell Autos Limited. Throughout the evening the packed auditorium were treated to spectacular performances from the Hope City Theatre Company and winners of the ‘Liverpool’s Schools Got Talent’.

Unsung Heroes 

The Award for Best Community Organisation was sponsored by Rowley Szilagy Surveyors. When LHFC were announced as winners there was a huge cheer from the crowd and rapturous applause as Chairperson John Finnigan took to the stage to collect the award. John graciously thanked everyone involved with the running of the club and dedicated the award to all the homeless people.

The following category was the Liverpool’s Health & Wellbeing Award where Steve Barton faced stiff competition from nine other nominees. Steve Barton was involved in the creation of LHFC back in 2007 and has been a long term advocate of the benefits of sport for homeless people. He has worked for the Salvation Army, the YMCA and is a driving force behind the success of homeless football on Merseyside. Presenter John Adrassy congratulated Steve declaring him “A very worthy winner!”.

Steve and John were accompanied at the ceremony with LHFC Project Development Officer Ben Carpenter, club ambassadors Chris McIntyre & Craig Meddings and players Becca Mushrow & James Buckley (left). The excitement amongst the team was evident as the team posed for photographs with the awards and spoke passionately about the work that LHFC does in the community.

Becca Mushrow has recently returned from a life changing experience at the Homeless World Cup and she was full of praise for the club and how they are helping her to start a new life with a positive future “Without the support of LHFC it would be easy for me to fall back in to drugs and trouble! Now i’m putting all my energy into building a career in football coaching”. James Buckley was also happy, stating that: “I owe so much to the club. LHFC helped me to settle in my own flat and build focus in my life. I’m now playing semi-professional football and studying sports science at college. I hope to go to university next year!”

The night was incredibly special and Steve was quick to point out “This award is not for me, it’s for the club and I too would like to dedicate it to all the homeless people out there.” John elaborated; “These awards are a fantastic moment of recognition for the work we are doing but it should also be a reminder that there are many people in our city who are still suffering from homelessness and this is likely to worsen over the next year or two. I hope this award will help us to do more work in engaging the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Women’s Football Returns!!

Liverpool Homeless Football Club are extremely proud to announce that our 2012-13 women’s football programme begins this week! If that wasn’t exciting enough, we can also reveal that the coaching will be delivered by Liverpool, England & Team GB star Fara Williams.

The coaching will be every Thursday 2-3pm @ Powerleague, Whittle Street, L5 2SQ.

Fara Williams is familiar with LHFC and the girls through her involvement this summer with the Homeless World Cup training camps hosted by Everton in the Community and the Homeless FA. Farah was encouraged to get involved in the coaching by long standing LHFC supporter and patron Rachel Brown. Rachel is also keen to be involved with this LHFC women’s programme but with a busy schedule at the moment she will attend as and when she can.

Fara & Rachel were so impressed with the girls at the training camps this summer that they both flew out to Mexico to support and coach the England team throughout the tournament. This was a huge boost to everyone but especially LHFC players Jessica Lomax and Becca Mushrow who were thrilled to have such inspirational characters alongside them in the dressing room!

On hearing the latest news Becca Mushrow revealed: “I can’t wait for thursday! It’s going to be great to see Farahagain and to get all the girls back together to do regular training.”

You can find out more about the women’s programme by staying tuned to this website for more information in the next few weeks. For more images from the Homeless World Cup training camp with Rachel and Farah, check our Women’s Football section or follow the link: https://liverpoolhomelessfootballclub.com/womens-football/ 

Click here to read about how Jess & Becca got on in Mexico City with the England team.

 

The Homeless League is back!

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Words by Ben Carpenter, Photography by Chris McIntyre

Season Six kicks off with Diversity Day.

This week saw the return of LHFC’s 5-a-side Homeless League. It has been a long wait since the curtain came down on the 2011-12 Season in May. But it was worth the wait….

Like previous years the first match day was themed ‘Diversity Day’ as a demonstration of the club’s commitment towards respect, equality and inclusion. The launch of a new season is always a fantastic occasion and this was no different. Before the football began, the players gathered to listen to local comedian, motivational speaker and disability rights campaigner: Gary Skyner.

Gary entertained the audience of approximately 100 players, volunteers and staff with a quick witted stand-up comedy routine. The ice was well and truly broken! Gary then took the opportunity to add a serious message to all the players:

“There is a stigma around homelessness just as there is a stigma surrounding people with disabilities. But that has never stopped me from going on to achieve the things that I have done.” Gary explained that he was only the second person in the UK to be born physically disabled due to the drug Thalidomide, but this had not prevented him from chasing his dreams and becoming a successful stand-up comedian. He continued: “Everyone here has a heart and a body so go out there and give it your best shot”. These were inspirational words not lost on anyone in the room.

Before the whistle was blown and before any balls were kicked, a poignant ceremony took place in memory of the 96 football fans that were tragically killed in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Several LHFC players released 96 red and blue balloons into the air as a sign of respect. Club Secretary Stephen Barton explained that it was “a show of support for the Justice Campaign that has united the city in recent years.”

 

Let the Games Begin…

Despite the grizzly October weather, over 80 players turned up to play for their hostels as the new look divisions were finally revealed. There were many familiar faces and many new ones as well as the teams soon got on with the fixtures. There are 18 teams in total, split in to three divisions of six teams. The format is standard 5-a-side rules with rolling substitutes. Some of the referees are ex-players who have been involved with the club for a long time.

Click here to see all the results & tables from match day 1 – Thanks to our partners: The Liverpool County FA, The Powerleague, The FA Small Sided Games & The Jamie Carragher 23 Foundation.

Chair of LHFC John Finnigan was extremely proud as he declared the 2012-13 Season officially open. “This is the sixth season that we have organised and it gets better and better each year! This is what it’s all about; providing a positive activity for the lads to enjoy. For many of these lads, this is the highlight of their month and something very important for them to focus on. You can’t imagine how important that is for someone who is trying to get their life back on track.”

More than Football…

There was a buzz of excitement throughout the whole day whether you were by the pitch or upstairs in the clubhouse where players ate a nutritious lunch and accessed support services. LHFC volunteer & YMCA Support Worker Christine Tierney revealed “The football is the incentive to get involved with these events, and whilst the players are here it’s important that they are able to access further support such as training opportunities and basic medical checks.”

Chris Orme was volunteering for the first time at match day one and he summed it up well: “The atmosphere is amazing, and the camaraderie amongst the players is great to see. It’s changed my perception of homelessness and I’m keen to stay involved with this fantastic project!”.

If you are interested in finding out more about our special guest Gary Skyner – check out his website: http://www.garyskynercomedy.com/