Updated: Friday, 10th July 2020 @ 7:36am

Everything to play for: Homeless football skills on show in Manchester's Street 2 Feet national championships

Everything to play for: Homeless football skills on show in Manchester's Street 2 Feet national championships

By Ben Burrows

The nation’s homeless footballers will be in Manchester this week for the Street 2 Feet national championships.

The tournament, which has been selected by the Homeless FA to celebrate UEFA’s Grassroots Day 2012, will take place at The Pits on Tuesday.

The event, being co-ordinated by homeless charity Chapter 1, will see 32 five-a-side teams from across the country come together to compete for the title of best homeless team in England

Head of the Homeless FA, Gareth Parker, said: “We have chosen to showcase this particular project as it is a great example of grassroots homeless football.”

The Limes is a supported housing project run by Chapter 1 in Manchester for 26 single men aged 16 to 30.

Mr Parker added: “Chapter 1 The Limes really stands out for the way in which they’ve developed the potential of football in such a positive way.”

Chapter 1’s Dean Ashton, who has organised the event, said: “Chapter 1 The Limes’ aim is to put on a great sporting event, raise awareness of homelessness, and demonstrate the positive impact of sport.

“This is our second national tournament and our fifth annual tournament. We hope it will become an annual event, and maybe even a launch pad for creating an inter-hostel sports academy.”

The tournament will be officiated by FA qualified referees and will be competed on high-quality Astroturf pitches.

As well as the overall winner’s trophy there will be prizes for runners-up and an award for the player of the tournament.

Also the captain of the team who best demonstrated proper conduct within the spirit of the game will be awarded a special fair play award.

Pauline Gaye, manager of Chapter 1 The Limes, said: “We offer residents sports leadership training, official coaching qualifications and volunteering opportunities.

“The benefits are wider reaching.  Sport increases self-esteem and team work, encourages a healthy life-style and improves employability. It can change young lives for the better, forever.”

Fifteen homeless organisations from Greater Manchester are competing as well as those from organisations as far away as Bristol, Nuneaton and Torquay.

Chapter 1’s Operations Director, Ged Sutcliffe, added: “The Manchester sports initiative demonstrates how much disadvantaged young people can achieve, once they are engaged in positive activity.

“It’s a stepping stone towards breaking the downward cycle of homelessness. In the last three years more than a 100 young men have moved on from Chapter 1 The Limes to live independently in the community.”

Street 2 Feet is organised in collaboration with the Manchester FA, StreetLeague, StreetGames, Sport4Life, Power League, Homeless Link, Homeless FA, Greggs the Bakers and Marks & Spencer.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.