Street Soccer Funding Boost to Benefit Hundreds and Strengthen Communities

3 April 2019 Street Soccer

Street Soccer Funding Boost to Benefit Hundreds and Strengthen Communities

The Big Issue has received an additional $4 million in the Federal Budget to expand its successful Community Street Soccer Program from 17 locations around Australia and to extend the programs operation until 2023.

Street Soccer is a unique initiative of The Big Issue that uses the power of sport to help people make positive changes in their lives.

Players from all walks of life come together at weekly training sessions to get fit, form friendships and reconnect with the community while receiving health education in an informal, supportive environment.

More than 10,000 people experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage have taken part in the program since it launched in 2007.

The Federal Government funding will provide the opportunity for hundreds more people to play Street Soccer each week and increase their health, education, housing and employment outcomes, while strengthening local communities.

An independent survey of Street Soccer players found involvement in the program has a positive impact on players. Since taking part in Street Soccer:

  • Two out of three players (67%) participated in education or training
  • One in three players (36%) improved their housing situation
  • One in five players (22%) found employment
  • 96 per cent reported improved physical fitness
  • 94 per cent were motivated to improve or maintain their physical and mental health

The program has also proven effective at reducing alcohol use and smoking, with 65 per cent of players reporting lower alcohol use and 59 per cent cutting back or stopping smoking.

The Big Issue CEO Steven Persson thanked the Federal Government for its support and acknowledged Minister for Sport Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie’s understanding of the power of grassroots sport.

“The Community Street Soccer Program gives people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage the opportunity to reconnect with their community, which is a crucial part of improving their lives,” Mr Persson said.

“With the program successfully established in major Australian cities, this funding will allow the Community Street Soccer Program to expand to a number of regional locations that were previously out of reach, as well as ensuring that the program’s existing sessions will continue to be supported into the future.”

The Australian Government has funded the Community Street Soccer Program since its inception in 2007.

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