Former West Bromwich star kicked off football tournament

published on 28 Jul 2021

Former West Bromwich Albion and Wales midfielder Andy Johnson supported players competing for a place at The Salvation Army’s annual homelessness football tournament last Friday.

Teams from Lifehouses*, across the Midlands and south took part in a regional play-off with finalists going forward to the national Partnership Trophy event in Manchester in September.

Lifehouses not only give someone a place to live, but also provide support to help people tackle the issues that led to them being homelessless, such as addiction, debt, unemployment, mental health problems and childhood trauma.

Andy Johnson and Nathan Slinn

Andy Johnson said: “I’m really happy to be involved with The Salvation Army’s Partnership Trophy in Birmingham. This regional tournament brings together lifehouses where people have lost homes or are trying to find a place to call home. Playing football together in teams encourages relationship building, improves health and confidence and is fun.”

Four teams were able to make it to the event, from Birmingham, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Reading. The latter two teams will go forward to the national event in Manchester in September, with the runner up in reserve.

Andy Johnson supported the Partnership Trophy in Birmingham at the Powerleague pitches by Spaghetti Junction. He also gave a Q&A session, talking about his time as a footballer and  his transition into a new career.

The team from Birmingham Lifehouse (Salvation Army)

Regional Manager of Salvation Army Homelessness Services, Nathan Slinn said:

“The Partnership Trophy is a celebration of everything our residents have overcome and achieved, and it’s a day for everyone in our services to come together – staff, volunteers and service users alike - for some healthy competition and a bit of fun. Being homeless certainly does not define a person, this is often a temporary situation.

“However, some people have been battling personal issues for some time, that may not have been addressed for years, or even decades. Our professional services and our partners can help people deal with these complex issues, such as debt, addiction and trauma.”

The football tournament has been held every year for  the last 10 years with the exception of 2020 (because of the coronavirus pandemic).

The Salvation Army believes in empowering people to overcome the complex reasons for their homelessness. Often these can be complex  and debilitating, but can include situations where people have lost their home due to a tenancy ending, or the end of a relationship or a job means that there is no  alternative accommodation.

*Lifehouses are hostels run by The Salvation Army which provide support for homeless people.

BBC regional TV news filmed at the event
The final game resulted in a penalty shoot-out
Amanda and her son sitting on the sofa

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