Breaking the stigma with the Homeless World Cup


Last week saw New Hope organise a team of seven individuals recovering from homelessness to attend the ‘Hertfordshire Homeless World Cup’ – a football tournament between homelessness service providers across Hertfordshire. Hosted by Stevenage Haven and taking place on the Letchworth County Cup Football Ground, New Hope’s team placed 5th in the tournament on that scorching Saturday and came away with a handful of medals and grins all round.

Thanks to the amazing generosity and quick response of the people of Watford, the team managed to pull together pairs of donated trainers and football boots but were amazed to find a full kit of shirts and shorts waiting for them at the event. After a difficult couple of games, the team really pulled together – building in confidence and developing their communication – ending their third game with some effective passing and finishing off with a quick and accurate shot that left the opposition goalie with no chance of saving.

Michael Caulfield, support worker at New Hope’s Rough Sleeping Prevention Service said “the effort that the guys put in was incredible, the whole way there they were buzzing and one of the guys even got voted ‘player of the tournament’ by the officials and refs. All of the guys are well up for playing again if we get the opportunity next year.”

Our goal keeper was thrilled to receive an extra medal for his performance throughout the day. "We were probably the oldest team there but we played like young men and considering we'd never played together before, we all did a great job. I pulled off a few good saves and the organisers must've spotted them and gave me the player of the tournament."

We’d like to say a big thank you to Stevenage Haven for organising the event, Michael and Stuart for arranging the team and transport, and our amazing supporters and their donated footwear, without which we would never have been able to participate.

Joe Meehan