The Homeless Football Association

homelessfa-team-england-bettertax

Introduction and Involvement

The Homeless FA is England's national homeless football charity and uses football to give every person experiencing homelessness in England the opportunity to positively transform their life. "These are our players. Our players are everything to us. And our players have everything to play for."

When Bettertax were approached by HFA (The Homeless FA) we had little hesitation in getting involved. What the HFA are trying to achieve for homeless people resonated with us. It was immediately clear to us that there was a direct correlation between Bettertax and the Homeless FA. A number of Bettertax staff and clients have experienced social-economic difficulty and with the vast majority also being huge football fans and patriots, we were very happy to get on board as we had been looking for a charity that really suited us since 2010.

We really became involved through Ricky's love of football and Arsenal in particular. Being a huge Twitter user, he was aware that another Gooner has founded & was heading up the HFA charity and as luck would have it, they found themselves in close proximity at matches. A friendship was forged and Bettertax's involvement discussed.

Bettertax is a small company and whilst HFA had secured support and use of training centres at Arsenal, Everton, Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion, funding was still needed and we were in a privileged position to become the founding corporate sponsors.

The Homeless FA

bettertax-sponsor-homelessfa The Homeless FA supports all initiatives that use football as a means of improving the lives of homeless people in England, believing that every homeless person has the potential to change their lives positively, and that football can facilitate this transformation.

Football can give every person experiencing homelessness in England the opportunity to develop their skills and abilities, to gain self-respect and confidence, to improve their health, and ultimately to transform their life. By promoting fair play and inclusiveness in the context of competitive football, the primary focus is on personal and social development.

Central to the work is promoting positive self-perception of all players while challenging and changing public perceptions of homeless people, encouraging the homelessness sector to utilise the power of football, and empower the sporting world to recognise football's potential to support the most vulnerable members of society. This includes education about the complex needs and challenges facing players. The HFA support relevant research, and the monitoring and evaluation of homeless football initiatives.

As the designated national partner of the Homeless World Cup, HFA have been responsible for the selection and management of the England national team for the annual World Cup tournament. Every person experiencing homelessness in England has the chance to be part of this team. Priority is given to the personal growth of the players, promoting a positive image of what it means to be homeless in England.

Training Days 

The selection process was conducted at some of the premier league clubs' training pitches. Staff from Bettertax have been fortunate to attend the days and meet the players trying out to gain a place on the men's or women's England teams.

This culminated with a day at Wembley Stadium for the successful players, HFA staff, coaches, Bettertax staff and Club England Managing Director, Adrian Bevington, where the Bettertax team strip was presented.

The FA video of the Homeless FA's Bettertax kit lauch can be viewed here


Homeless World Cup

This competition has been taking place around the world for 9 years - the 10th World Cup, our first year of involvement, being played in Mexico during October 2012. Scotland won the cup in Paris in 2011, so competition between our home nations couldn't have been higher. With an England men's team joined by a women's team for the first time, Bettertax are watched their progress whilst wishing them both every success in the tournament. 

Summer 2013 saw the tournament being held in Poznan, Poland. Our Data Submissions Manager, Mariusz, polish himself, and I visited the team at The new FA training ground at St George's Park to wish them success in the games.

Unfortunately the wider press and TV have very little, if any, comment or coverage when the tournaments are on but The Homeless World Cup website offers excellent youtube link ups.



 

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