Salvation Army On The Ball To Tackle Fight Against Homelessness 

The Salvation Army’s annual football tournament for people who are homeless will kick off next week for the eleventh year.   

The Partnership Trophy, which is run in collaboration between the church and charity and its subsidiary, The Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA), will bring together football teams from Lifehouses (hostels), outreach programmes, and SAHA services, all of which provide support for people who are homeless across the UK.  

This year’s tournament will also see the refugees and survivors of modern slavery who receive wide-ranging support at The Salvation Army’s safehouses taking part.  

Special guest, former England football manager and player, Terry Butcher, who captained the England team in the 1990 World Cup and played in three FIFA World Cups, will be cheering on the teams and inspiring players throughout the day. Mr Butcher will share top football tips, as well as his own experiences of tackling depression after he sadly lost his son to suicide. 

The annual tournament is one of the many ways the church and charity promotes positive and independent living for its service users, whilst reinforcing its message that helping people to move on from homelessness is more than just providing a home.  

The Salvation Army strongly believes in helping its residents tackle the underlying reasons why they became homeless, such as addiction or mental health problems, to ensure they aren’t trapped in a cycle of rough-sleeping and temporary accommodation.  

Major Hilarie Watchorn, Assistant Director of the Homelessness Services Unit for The Salvation Army, said: “Our annual Partnership Trophy celebrates those we support through our homelessness services, and we’re pleased to be able to bring it back for another year. It’s a great way of everyone coming together, whilst exercise and team sports are perfect for boosting mental and physical health as well as social skills.  

There are often very complex reasons why people find themselves homeless and so this tournament is a way for us to celebrate all that they have overcome, the journey they’re on, and how they have support from us and our partners at each step of the way.

Alongside Terry Butcher, the five-a-side tournament is being supported by the Guardiola Sala Foundation, a humanitarian charity set up by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and his family, who attended the Partnership Trophy in 2019 and 2021.   

Major Hilarie added: “We’re thrilled that Terry Butcher will be with us on the day, spurring our players on and talking about his life on and off the pitch. We also want to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Guardiola Sala Foundation, who have supported us and our residents for a number of years.” 

More than 20 teams from around the UK will take part in the Partnership Trophy and one team, known as Team International, is made up of survivors of modern slavery who have been united by similarities in their past and given a home in Salvation Army safehouses.  

A member of Team International originally from Mauritius, aged 42, said of being part of the group: “I have suffered with depression and anxiety for a long time as a result of personal issues in my life, and joining Team International has helped me overcome these issues. It has allowed me to feel safe and create a bond with other team-mates and the support workers too. It’s given me a whole new lease of life. 

I didn’t have anything when I first came to the UK, but The Salvation Army supported me with my mental health and allowed me to feel part of a family group, they saved me. I’d go as far as to say they saved my life.

The Partnership Trophy takes place at Goals on Irish Town Way in Manchester on Thursday, September 29. 

Written by: Luisa Dawe

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