National homeless football tournament to celebrate fifth birthday in Manchester

An annual five-a-side football tournament representing homeless and disadvantaged people will celebrate its fifth anniversary when it kicks off in Manchester next week.

On Thursday May 21, 37 teams will take part in the Street2Feet competition at The Pitts PowerLeague Soccer Centre, representing over 25 different homeless organisations.

The event, run by national housing charity Chapter 1 and supported by StreetGames, has now become an fixture in the homeless sporting calendar.

Chapter 1’s national sport development manager, Dean Ashton, said: “The benefits for the people who take part go far beyond sport.

“Their confidence and self-esteem improves. They learn about responsibility and team work, and that it ‘s possible to gain real qualifications and have fun at the same time.”

Dean explained that the tournament’s origins stem from the arrangement of a kick-about football team at Chapter 1’s Manchester hostel, The Limes, almost six years ago.

“It went from strength to strength, and we formed a close link with StreetGames,” he said.

“We went on to extend the programme to include other organisations in Manchester who work with homelessness, mental health and young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

“We have established a regular league affiliated to Manchester FA, known as E-Quality FC,  and rolled out a sports development programme across the whole of Chapter 1.”

The tournament trophy will be presented by special guest star Rachel Brown-Finnis, former England women’s goalkeeper, and it is hoped her involvement will encourage more women to get involved in grass roots football.

Plans to hold a similar tournament later this year in London have also been touted and students from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) have offered a helping hand by arranging the Manchester event and promoting it on social media. 

Jane Ashworth OBE, CEO of StreetGames, said: ‘The Street2Feet tournament is a fantastic initiative that we are very proud to support again this year.  

“It’s a great example of the work Chapter 1 does all year round to change the lives of young people in the local area through sport and physical activity.

“This isn’t just a homeless football tournament – it’s about using physical activity to boost young people’s confidence and build safer, stronger communities.”

You can find out more about the Street2Feet tournament on their Twitter page by clicking here.

Image courtesy of Street2Feet, with thanks.

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