The traditional view of homelessness is of someone out on the street, living rough, visiting night shelters and soup runs. This is indeed the visible sign of homelessness but there are many other people without a place to call home, a place of safety and a place of permanence. Many are in hostels or temporary accommodation or moving from one friend’s house to another, something we know as “sofa surfing”.
The statistics on homelessness in Bristol are hard to find but what is clear is that Bristol does have a problem, and it’s estimated that at any one time there are several hundred people without a home.
Bristol City Community Trust teamed up with The Homeless FA – England’s national homeless charity – to create an opportunity for 30 homeless people to develop leadership, team work, communication, problem solving and personal effectiveness skills. Those who attended the five-week training course were given a great insight into the world of professional football.
All candidates completed a Level 1 Community Sports Leadership Award. The course was delivered in Greville Smythe Park from 1st to 29th April, and all participants completed a Level 1 Community Sports Leadership Award.
The Community Trust provided the participants with an opportunity to meet a number of Bristol City FC players and interview fans favourites Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Gus Mafuta. They asked the players about their journeys and found out how they overcame barriers to make it in a very competitive industry and become professional footballers.
The players and staff did a fantastic job of inspiring change and giving those involved in the programme the self-confidence and belief needed to seek meaningful employment opportunities.
To congratulate the participants for completing the courses both Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Gus Mafuta presented them with their awards, a BCFC replica shirt, a pitch-side hero’s portrait and the opportunity to attend an official first team squad signing event that was held in the Bristol City’s press office.
Premier league clubs including Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton have also signed up to deliver projects in collaboration with the Homeless FA project.
Homeless FA Project: www.homelessfa.org
Bristol City Community Trust: www.bristolcitycommunitytrust.org.uk