Getting out and taking part in street football is proving it can help get people off the street too.
Street Football Wales promotes social inclusion and encourages individuals to take an active role in their own lives through achievement and self-development.
"Our project predominantly involves male and females over the age of 16 who are homeless and socially excluded," said project leader Keri Harris.
"We started in Swansea in 2004 but we now give access to weekly sessions across Wales- including Caernarfon, Flint, Conwy, Wrexham, Carmarthen, Llandovery, Swansea, Newport and Cardiff.
"Essentially we engage with those furthest away from mainstream sports provision. Some activity was going on already, particularly in the West around Swansea, but this project was put in place to develop more opportunities and ensure future sustainability and engagement through a workforce development programme."
In training up the participants themselves, the hope was that the work would also boost the confidence and self -esteem of those who took part.
The SFW participants are now actively involved within their communities, not only delivering weekly training sessions but also as part of forums for third sector mental health organisations and services for refugees and asylum seekers, among others.
"By being involved in community services in this way the coaches have had a positive impact on service users' physical well-being and ability to make healthier lifestyle choices," adds Harris.
"Participants have also developed exit routes for some players to enter mainstream sport and have a positive impact in communities as coaches, sports leaders and first aiders.”
In 2015, of 626 participants, 416 took an online questionnaire which highlights the positive impact Street Football Wales has had on its participants:
- 93% said their physical health had improved
- 93% said their mental health had improved
- 90% said their relationships with support had improved
- 94% said their confidence and self-esteem improved
For many, fighting for acceptance and constantly facing rejection and discrimination time and again has left them feeling as though their only option is to give up and stop trying to fit in. Street Football Wales offers people the opportunity to get involved in a team where they will not be judged or stigmatised.
This story supports the following 2026 objectives:
Get 75% of young people and young adults hooked on sport
Positively target the participation gap within inequality