The Homeless World Cup is an annual football tournament which aims to support and inspire people who have experienced homelessness to build skills to change their own lives, as well as educating and changing perceptions of homelessness across the globe.
2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the Homeless World Cup, which kicked off for the first time in Austria in 2003.
Whilst it’s an annual event, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, multiple tournaments were unable to take place.
Last taking place in 2019, the 17th Homeless World Cup was held in the beautiful Bute Park in Wales’ capital city, Cardiff.
The Wallich played a key role in the 2019 football festival, providing advice, wellbeing support and acting as a welcoming, recognisable face to more than 430 people.
The 18th edition of the tournament is being held on the 8 to 15 July 2023 at the Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California in July.
This is the first time that the Homeless World Cup has conquered the United States.
The Wales team is trained and organised by Street Football Wales. There are men’s, women’s and mixed teams who meet weekly for a kickabout in Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, Holywell, Merthyr and Haverfordwest.
Street Football Wales is a charity that offers opportunities for people who have been socially isolated and excluded. Providing a safe and inclusive space to play football, make connections and build confidence.
They need to raise £35,000 to cover the expenses needed to get the team to the tournament in Sacramento.
The Wallich works closely with Street Football Wales through various sponsorships and other support.
Hosting various drop-in sessions across Wales, it’s common for The Wallich’s service users to take part in these sessions to boost their physical and mental wellbeing, as well as being part of a sport their passionate about.
This year as part of the Street Football Wales national team, it’s fantastic to announce that one of The Wallich’s staff members, Stephen, and a service user he supports, Jamie, will be on their way to Sacramento next month to play for and represent Wales.
Stephen is a Senior Support Worker for The Wallich’s GIFT project in Rhyl. Our GIFT service aims to support people who are experiencing homelessness or who are having tenancy difficulties.
Ste said: “I tried out in the qualifiers because I’m a big believer in group activities, they help a lot with mental health and confidence. So, I tried out just to see if it’s an activity I can suggest to the people I support.”
“I’m absolutely buzzing to go to Sacremento, I’ve never been to America before and I can’t wait to be part of team Cymru.”
Jamie, who lives in temporary accommodation in Rhyl, has been accessing The Wallich’s services since early 2022.
Jamie said: “My journey to be honest, it’s been amazing. I’m loving the travelling down with Ste and one of the coaches, James.
I didn’t think I’d get the chance to go to America, let alone represent team Cymru. So yeah, the feeling is amazing, and we are buzzing for it.”
The Wallich would love to wish Team Cymru a big pob lwc – it’s an incredible achievement.