Words by Ben Carpenter and Images by Chris McIntyre.
Liverpool Homeless Football Club has always been about much more than football. Never has this been more apparent than this week where players and staff from the club really got into the spirit of Christmas. On Sunday six players entered the annual Santa Dash, on Wednesday the club supported the Keep Warm Collective and on Thursday LHFC launched their third annual Christmas Toy Appeal for Homeless Children.
On Sunday 2nd December Liverpool City Centre was taken over by the annual Santa Dash! The streets were crawling with men, women and kids all dressed in Santa suits and wearing artificial beards! There was even some blue Santa suits knocking around as well!! For the second year running, players from LHFC entered this charity run.
Well done to Stephen Barton, Chris McIntyre, James Buckley and YMCA players Joe Savin, Steve Weild, Billy Sutton and Paul Thistlewaite for completing the 5K run. The players raised over £40 for the Alder Hey Heart Ward. This cause was chosen by Joey who has had first hand experience of their care as his baby has suffered from a heart condition.
The Keep Warm Collective is a movement led by Stephanie Till who wanted to help homeless women in Liverpool by giving them women’s clothing (find out more at http://thestaywarmsisterhood.wordpress.com/ or follow her on twitter:@CXStephanie). The initiative has one ethos, one purpose which is “to enable other women to help other women keep warm this winter in Liverpool”.
LHFC thought it was a brilliant idea and were only too happy to help. Partner agency Liverpool YMCA acted as a drop off point and this week, Stephen Barton & Christine Tierney took three bags full of coats, hats and scarves to St George’s Hall to add to the Keep warm collective. Christine said; “It’s a great idea, and this initiative means that women who are homeless and cannot afford to keep warm not only get some free warm clothing, it’s actually really nice women’s stuff – so they don’t have to wear worn out old men’s clothes!”
Last but by no means least, on Thursday 6th December LHFC launched their Christmas Toy Appeal. This is the third year that the club has run an appeal for toys. All presents that the club collects are given to children who are homeless in Merseyside.
To launch this year’s appeal stars of the royal court play nightmare on Lime Street Mark Moraghan and Anthony Watson as well as AFC Liverpool’s James Buckley came out to show their support (see above).
Steve Barton secretary of LHFC stated “this is our third year and we have also seen clients of our agencies buy a present for a child, which in turn improves there self-worth. The reality is for a lot of families out there who have no home, Christmas is a sad time, and many of these families may not have much money to buy presents at least this appeal will ensure children have something to wake up and open on Christmas morning Which will also make the parents feel better.”
James Buckley who was once homeless is now playing for AFC LIVERPOOL said “It puts a smile on my face to be able to help a child have a childhood like I had”
Rebecca Mushrow a player in the LHFC women’s programme said: “giving a gift to children in hostels is more than just giving an object, it is a gift of hope and a gift that can change their world”
John Finnigan, LHFC Chairman said “It’s great to have Mark, James and Anthony launching this appeal from there busy schedules and we would like to thank not just the Hostels this year for being drop off points but also genie in the gutter, and the Walton cornerstone centre and also for impact/angel tree who have supported us through the years.”
How can you help I hear you cry?!
• Simply – BUY A PRESENT!
• WRAP IT UP! > WRITE ON IT BOY OR GIRL AND AGE!
• THEN DROP IT OFF AT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING POINTS B Y THE 20TH DECEMBER
Drop off points for your toys are:
• Liverpool YMCA, 15 LEEDS STREET, LIVERPOOL L3 6HU,
• Darbyshire House, Salvation Army, 380 Prescot Road, Liverpool, L13 3DA
• New Start, Prospect Lodge, 49 Prospect Vale, Liverpool, Fairfield, L6 8PF
• Genie in the Gutter, 88 Rodney street, Liverpool L1 9AR
• Walton cornerstone centre, 2 Liston street, Walton, L4 5RT.
CALL Steve Barton 07764994906 or John Finnegan 07595503694 for more details.