Going Dutch

It’s that time again when I head off to the Homeless World Cup, this year in Amsterdam. 
This will be the 7th year attending each one has its own unique flavour and atmosphere. The one consistent is the overwhelming feeling of joy, inspiration and camaraderie. 

If you weren’t aware it was where the long journey of Streets Revolution began back in 2009. 

Since then I have been fortunate enough to not only attend every year, but meet some wonderful human beings that have inspired me and made me aware of the HOPE that the simple act of kicking a ball together can bring. 

My perceptions have been changed, my education although not complete has been thorough. I’ve been challenged about how I think about homelessness and what that means in different parts of the world.  

The Netherlands has in Amsterdam approached the issue of homelessness in a way tackling the problem at the root cause.  

Here is a link and a more in depth look it makes for interesting reading;

Homeless in Amsterdam

I never really know what to expect the people I meet and the conversations I will have.  I can guarantee a few things, great football, awesome people, inspirational stories and reassurance that despite the societal problems, economic difficulties and rising pressure across the globe as homelessness is on the increase, that there are people working hard to end this situation, that sport has a part to make a difference.  That there is light at the end of that tunnel. There is HOPE. 

Please follow some of these stories here and visit the Homeless World Cup website to get live action and be part of it wherever you are. 

https://www.homelessworldcup.org/tournament/ 

 

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Homeless means…..

I have been getting excited with only 3 days to go to the Homeless World Cup in Paris.
Every year players from all corners of the world come together in celebration and recognition of the hard work and effort they have made to get themselves on an even keel again.

It led me to think what does it mean to be homeless?

Maybe it is better to say what it isn’t rather than what it is.

It isn’t PERMANENT, it is for a lot of people a circumstance, sometimes a long time, but either at the beginning or the end of adult life.

It isn’t the END, alot of people will move forward or return to lead a positive life again.

It isn’t CATCHING, it’s not a disease in which you can by contact alone become homeless yourself.

Although some would argue it is a plague or epidemic, which unless as a society we collectively agree we have to eradicate, will only grow in numbers.

It is not HOPELESS, we can all make a difference, in small ways locally, nationally and globally we can help, be creative.

We at Streets Revolution have found one way as have similar projects around the world.

It’s about being creative to find small ways YOU can help!!!

It isn’t about STEREOTYPES, every person I have met had a unique story and a unique struggle.

Labelling is a big factor, and only enables the problem to remain, maybe by listening to the personal stories from all the players at the Homeless World Cup, you will gain a better understanding.

A maybe, just maybe that’s how a BALL CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.

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From Scoring to Scoring!!!

Hi my name is Darren Lavin,

I have been involved with streets revolution since it started in April 2010.I was living in a hostel in town which was hard as I had nothing to do except get into trouble .I met up with Jon when he started coaching for Lucy Faithful House on a Monday.

Now I’ve made it through the Trials for the England Homeless World cup team.

I’ve lived on and off on the streets of Oxford for 10 years, blighted by a “mixture of drink, drugs and some time in prison”.

But now I have turned my life around. It’s only taken me 30 years.

I have been playing football most of my life, but the past few years have been very up and down.

It is every schoolboy’s dream to play football for their country.

But for me, it’s not about getting into the final(England Homeless World Cup Team) but it is about helping all the other lads.

Some of them really benefit from schemes like this. I’ve been there and I know what it’s like.

Streets Revolution Participant - Darren Lavin

We started the first drop in with 6 people, which has grown in leaps and bounds. We have a varied group of people who attend the drop in including homeless, asylum seekers and people with mental health issues.

The drop in is one of the best things that is going on in Oxford at the moment which is bringing people from all backgrounds under the streets revolution banner. We are one big family at Streets Revolution. We have now just started a new drop in at Northway Community Centre which is fitness based but also offers football. That runs on a Monday from 3.30 to 5.30pm.

Streets Revolution have also helped me gain my level  1 FA coaching badge and now I am waiting to start my level 2 soon. I help out with the training sessions and I am on the committee. Just recently our coach Andy Bone has offered to let me take over his other under nines team which I am looking forward to also.

I have also been involved with the Homeless World Cup which involved doing a sponsored walk last July with Jon to raise money so they could assist teams to get to the world cup in Brazil. This year is a bit different as I have taken part in the trials in oxford which I have made it to the next stage at Man U’s training ground.

'The Road to Rio' Sponsored event last year

Well that’s your lot and VIVA LA REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Batman a new type of superhero !!

Hi, my name is Adrian and my nickname is Batman and i have been asked to write this blog, because i have been involved in Streets Revolution from the beginning. I have been involved in Streets Revolution from the beginning. A bit about me; I have been homeless one and off for about 5 years, when I started Streets Revolution I was taking drugs on a daily basis from cannabis to heroin. Why? Well actually I felt it was how I was forgetting about all my problems and a way of escaping. But, I was always into my football way back when I used to play Northway boys, from the age of 5 I got my first ever football kit which was a blue and white Manchester United kit.

So even though I was homeless and using drugs I still got a buzz from kicking a ball around with my mates. So when Jon Regler (Chairman) came along to the hostel and started coaching the team at Lucy Faithfull, I was well up for it and as time passed we spoke about more football and starting a new team for everyone who felt like me.

The Revolutionaries with ( Captain Adrian ) left in the top row

Streets Revolution has helped me in so many ways, it has helped me move from, a dark place to see a more positive image of myself. Since the beginning I have been involved in the committee meetings and have had a voice into how it runs and what we do. It’s probably the first time that I have been a part of something.

Football is great I get so much out of it, I feel totally different like I am a Superstar. I’ve got fitter and I think I have become a better footballer, some might argue, but generally it makes me feel happy knowing I have moved forward from that dark place.

Hopes for the future include me doing my FA Coaching badges, taking the training and maybe being paid to coach in Streets Revolution and beyond. My fitness is improving but still more to improve. I have been clean and off drugs for 3 months and this is partly due to Streets Revolution (Thank you!) I’m working with Streets Revolution to help me in other areas in life, including rebuilding my relationship with my children.

Thanks for reading and if you have any comments feel free to get in touch.

London, Edinburgh and then Rio…..

Well this entry is completely dedicated to the mammoth task of fund-raising for the Homeless World Cup, least of all because that’s where this whole concept and idea began(see previous blogs) .

After i came back form Milan 2009 i was inspired and plans began to form then knowing i wanted to get to Brazil 2010 and help out such a great cause and event.

So 8 cities in 8 days and a walk in each city/town on route, London, Leicester, Luton, Nottingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and then Edinburgh.

I met some great people and was able to take one of the participants with me (Darren Lavin) he grew in stature on route and was able to explain to people why football has helped him so much, we also stopped in at a salvation army hostel and took on another passenger from there (Mark Morgan).

Englands No 1

In Luton we met one of the guys who eventually made the England Team in Rio ( Dwayne Nathan Williams)

Through many ups and downs we made it to the Homeless World Cup HQ in Edinburgh and were welcomed on the  Hibernian’s Pitch.

The End of the Road to Rio

Here we are with the England Flag signed by all the well wishers along the way and we also had a Scottish Flag we presented to the Scottish Team manager (David Duke) Check out Street Soccer Scotland on facebook.

Well the journey was completed and when the dust was settled we had raised enough money to pay for a player to represent his country and it meant i could be there as a volunteer again!!!

September 2010 i was now ready to set off for Rio, a time for reflection and looking back on the achievements of the last year.

So much has been accomplished in such a short period of time, needless to say none of this is achieved without so many people and the help of a partner who is a football widow in every sense and so supportive.

So many good people who continue to inspire me from all around the world and just around the corner from Stephen Barton in Liverpool to Kelly Brown in Oxford, from Andy Hook in Edinburgh to Lee Robinson in Australia , these and many more, too many to mention here…..

Without these people and thousands like them who care about the disadvantaged in our world, well we would all be worse off that’s for sure.

Rio was amazing and surpassed all my expectations and met some old friends and made some new ones, had a few tears and loads of smiles, from the Haiti Ladies to the New Zealand Men all had a story to tell and came and went with a new attitude.

Here for those who haven’t heard about it before is a sample of the game voted the best from the 2010 (apologies for the commentary in German)

And finally a picture of yours truly and a few memories from Rio 2010 and looking forward to Paris 2011

Jon Regler (Still  Chairman)

The Revolution continues….

And so after a small beginning we had started and all was taking shape, the new faces kept coming and we had enough to enter a team into the BOBi league we had links with Oxford United Community officer John Armstrong who took over the coaching.

We then began to formulate a plan to host a summer tournament and invitations were sent, so down on Iffley road sports pitch STREETS REVOLUTION sent out invitations and awaited responses.

Meanwhile the first successful application for funding was made from Oxfordshire Community Fund and many thanks to Graham Ablett for all his help and support to achieve this.

We also started our Youth Action Team which hopes to give 16-25 year olds an opportunity to get involved in the decision making of our organisation and help learn new skills and have a say in what we do and raise needed funds, they were integral in designing our logo and badge and got funding for our new kit.

Basking in the sunshine numbers rose to 20 on some days, and a great bond was growing amongst the participants we had entered into Cherwells Men’s Health Week tournament in Banbury and come 2nd on goal difference (not bad for our first turn out).

Now all i had to do was get prepared for the “Road to Rio” walk and the Homeless World Cup.

 

 

 

The Blog has been a bit behind and for that i apologise and will make every effort to catch up and see if  i can make it a regular thing in 2011.

Cheers for now

Jon Regler (Chairman)

 

 

 

 

 

In the Beginning ……

The true revolutionary is guided by love. It is impossible to think of a true revolutionary lacking this” – Che Guevara.

I can’t think of anywhere else to start but the beginning…….

I’m writing a blog as that seems to be the done thing these days since carrier pigeons went out of fashion. As we are already on Facebook and Twitter we thought we would do a blog to get a hat trick (many more football related puns to come). Let me introduce you to Jon Regler (that me!!), the founder of our organisation (the dude in the picture with the moustache)

It all started with a passion for football and a desire to make a difference both of which I have. I attended the Homeless World Cup in Milan in 2009 and worked there as a volunteer. I returned with inspiration thinking as the Homeless World Cup has said “a ball can change the world” So why can’t a ball change Oxford?

Already a football coach, I searched for a local homelessness project that i could get involved with. I was lucky to find Lucy Faithful House ( a supported housing project for homeless people provided by Two Saints) and began to assist them in coaching a football session once a week. During that time a couple of questions kept popping up from the players. “Why can’t we play more football?” and “what can we do the rest of the time after the football has finished?”

I began to dream that maybe he could start an organisation that would answer these questions.

Fed up with calling it ‘I have a dream’ or ‘that thing I want to do with football and adults that are marginalised in the county blah blah blah…..’ we had to think of a name. So at 2 am in the morning (when all great ideas come about) Becca and I (that’s me the “blogger”) came up with a few suggestions. Here are some of those that in a Britain’s Got Talent sort of manner got the red buzzer treatment…….. Balls to Homelessness (too rude)…..The Big Issue (already taken)…Bend it like a beggar (so politically incorrect which rather defeats the object)….. as you can tell we didn’t work well at 2am in the morning and our waste paper bin was very full. We learnt from our naming session that was reminiscent of Gynneth Paltrow like (who names their child after an apple anyway!) and started thinking again the next morning. We liked Streets United it combined both football and homelessness brilliant! until you type it into google and realise that every Tom, Dick and Harry thought of that way before us. So after a couple of weeks of running around telling everyone its Streets United it dawned on us we are trying to inspire change so whats the biggest kind of change there is …… a revolution. This brought us to the word “revolution” (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) defined as “to bring about a change”.

So now we had a name time to focus our attention on starting the organisation and so the story continues….