Every year, the Homeless World Cup Foundation delivers an inspirational week-long street football tournament that brings together more than 500 players representing 50+ countries from around the world, all of which have faced homelessness and social marginalisation.
Competing in a purpose-built stadium in the heart of the host city, the players represent their country and unite in celebration. The network has gathered in cities such as Cape Town (2006), Melbourne (2008) and Rio de Janeiro (2010) over the past 15 years to share the joy of playing football, frequently attracting crowds of more than 80,000 with millions more watching online around the world.
The health and wellbeing of people who experience homelessness is poorer than that of the general population, and are at relatively high risk for a broad range of acute and chronic illnesses. Precise data on the prevalence of specific issues among homeless populations compared with those among non-homeless populations are difficult to obtain, but there is a body of information indicating that homelessness is associated with a number of physical and mental problems.
The longer a person experiences homelessness, particularly from young adulthood, the more likely their health and wellbeing will be at risk. It isn’t uncommon for longer-term homeless people to suffer from more two or more diseases and / or disorders.
Over the past few years, Healthy Stadia has worked alongside Homeless World Cup Foundation and UEFA to design and deliver training programmes for team managers and coaches at their annual tournament. These training programmes have been developed in conjunction with public health experts to:
1. raise awareness of the broad range of physical and mental health issues affecting homeless populations from a variety of different backgrounds
2. to develop brief intervention techniques in coaches to enhance their communication skills when working with marginalised communities
Studies have revealed that whilst smoking prevalence amongst homeless populations can be over 70%, the desire to stop smoking is the same as non-homeless populations*.
With this in mind, Healthy Stadia delivered a smoking cessation brief intervention training workshop to managers and coaches from national teams participating in Glasgow, with the intention of skilling-up coaches to support players who are smokers to engage with national stop smoking services in their home countries.
Healthy Stadia developed a six-step approach to motivating smokers to reflect upon the benefits of quitting and using a stop smoking service to help achieve their goal, which can be employed by homeless team coaches in their dual role as football trainers and mentors.
*Baggett, T. P., & Rigotti, N. A. (2010). Cigarette smoking and advice to quit in a national sample of homeless adults. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 39 (2):164–172.
Building on the success of the smoking cessation brief intervention training workshop delivered in Glasgow the previous years, Healthy Stadia, developed a two-part multi-risk brief intervention training programme for managers and coaches at Homeless World Cup 2017, held in Oslo, Norway.
The first part of the workshop, explored the health and wellbeing of homeless populations and the complex challenges facing those without somewhere to call home. Common risk factors including the use of tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs in addition to other issues such as dental care, foot care and sexual health were discussed during the workshop.
The second part of the training programme focused on helping managers and coaches develop brief intervention techniques to enable them to approach homeless community members in a sensitive and considered manner and encourage positive change. At the end of day 2 coaches and manager were also tasked with identifying local assets and resources to help foster partnership working in their domestic settings.