Tackling homelessness together: Ipswich Town Football Club invites Salvation Army football team to Portman Road
published on 20 Mar 2019
Ipswich Town Football Club invited members of The Salvation Army’s Lyndon House Lifehouse football team to its practice pitch at Portman Road last week as part of the English Football League (EFL) Day of Action (19 March 2019).
EFL Day of Action sees all 72 EFL clubs come together to highlight the work undertaken to tackle some of society’s biggest issues.
The Salvation Army’s football team is made up of residents and staff of the church and charity’s Lifehouse on Fore Street, Ipswich - an accommodation centre offering specialist support for men experiencing homelessness. The team usually plays at Goals, off Grimwade Street, but was invited to Portman Road for a training session and a chat with the Blues’ striker Will Keane.
Will Keane said: “It was great to meet the lads and hear their stories. Football can unite people and I hope that this experience was beneficial to them because they deserve it. It was fantastic to meet the staff as well. They should be very proud of all the work they do.”
Stephen Gray, a specialist support worker at Lyndon House, started football training at the Lifehouse to build a sense of community while also promoting a positive and healthy lifestyle.
Stephen said: “The Salvation Army recognises that it’s not just food and shelter that is needed to help people rebuild their lives so, alongside offering training in basic life skills and housing advice, we also provide support that focuses on all-round wellbeing.
“Football can provide a good release for the guys and the struggles they’re going through. A day like this is brilliant for them. They were all very excited and seeing a professional footballer gives them a bit of inspiration as well as a few tips to use on the pitch.”
Warren, a resident at Lyndon House, said: “I’m glad I got the chance to play at Portman Road – not many people get the opportunity. I’m very thankful.”
Stephen, another resident, said: “It’s been good to come to our local stadium and see the support for what we are doing.”
The Salvation Army is dedicated to caring for people who are vulnerable or in need. Through its Lifehouse on Fore Street and churches on Bramford Road, Woodbridge Road and Queensway, The Salvation Army offers compassionate support, practical help and a warm welcome to all.