21 July 2010
Come on! Come on! Manchester based football ministry scores big in the lives of marginalised men
An inspirational football placement project is currently helping hundreds of men from all over Manchester to 'raise their game,' not only in terms of sporting prowess, but also through rehabilitating them out of homelessness, crime and addiction back into mainstream society.
When Chris Satterthwaite first went along to a street soccer session he had no idea it would help to transform his life, "It was like a normal game of football."
The 24-year-old from Higher Broughton said, "I was in with the wrong crowd, taking drugs, drinking, and sleeping on my mate's sofas." After playing regular weekly games with the project Chris found that he had good references for finding a permanent place to live, "The people are really friendly and it's all free of charge." Chris says he started to grow up while attending the project and began to fall in love with his girlfriend, Angie Procter. She now goes to watch him play every week and believes that Street Soccer had a massive impact in turning his life completely around, "He'd still be getting into trouble if he'd not been involved in Street Soccer."
Andy Thorp, Project Manager for Street Soccer said that the scheme takes a year to start to penetrate the lives of attendees effectively. He told us that they aim to meet the needs of marginalised men through providing them with steady, regular commitments. The project often sorts out food parcels or puts the men in touch with housing agencies, "I volunteer and get to know the guys. Relationships are forged and followed up each week."
The idea of Street Soccer first came to life in 2005 through Manchester City Mission and is now based in five boroughs, Manchester, Bolton, Salford, Stockport, Wigan and Lee. Each coaching centre provides a weekly soccer session with the option of mentoring/support from volunteers. Following so many success stories the team now want to filter the twelve month placement programme into five more boroughs, one a year.
For more details on how to get involved go to www.street-soccer.org