The Partnership Trophy, an annual football tournament for Lifehouse residents, was called off in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. This year, to the joy of the players, it’s back on and will be held at Goals, Manchester, on the 23rd of September.
Training has begun in earnest, building up to a recent event during which players won their place in the Liverpool and Manchester teams. Similar events across the UK will result in the selection of other ‘super teams’ that will compete in the Partnership Trophy.
Why a sporting event?
Sporting events, in instances such as this, are great at bringing people together to enjoy some fun in the sun. For many Lifehouse residents, this is their first opportunity to play in a team and be supported by team mates. It’s a great opportunity to promote physical health, and it’s long been known that physical exercise can improve mental health.
As Carys Whitehouse, engagement worker at Discovery House in Manchester, said, “Sport has a way of bringing people together, as well as boosting the physical and mental health which is an essential part of supporting people to overcome the reasons they became homeless.”
The event is just one more tool in The Salvation Army’s toolbox that enables them to support and empower people experiencing homelessness, so that they can recognise and address the complex reasons that resulted in them sleeping rough.
Any combination of mental ill health, domestic violence, childhood trauma, addiction, unemployment, and eviction can result in homelessness. These have to be addressed on a personal, holistic level. The Salvation Army has the professionals and volunteers to help these people get back on their feet and rejoin their communities as constructive members.
Importantly, the tournament is also a celebration of success, especially the residents’ journey and their achievements on and off the pitch.
Carys’ is looking forward to the joy and sense of achievement the tournament brings to Lifehouse residents, but there’s more to her excitement than that.
As she says, “With the Manchester team winning the cup last time, we’re hoping to repeat our success at the main event!”
If you’re in the area, pop down to Goals, in Manchester on Tuesday the 23rd of September to enjoy some sporting good fun.
* The Salvation Army is one of the largest homelessness charities operating in the UK, providing more than 3,000 places for people in Lifehouses (supported housing) across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Alongside this many corps (churches) offer drop-ins and personalised support for people in need.