CHESTER now has its first homeless football team!

It is the brainchild of the Soul Kitchen group, which provides support to rough-sleepers and vulnerable people in the city.

Co-ordinator Helen Anthony said they had heard about the Homeless World Cup currently taking place in Cardiff and thought it was a “brilliant idea”.

She told The Standard: “After doing some research we discovered that there is an amazing organisation in Liverpool - Liverpool Homeless FC who are doing fantastic work and we went to visit them.

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“Their patron is John Bishop and they are a hugely inspirational group of people. As a result of that visit we knew that we needed to have a homeless football team in Chester!”

She added: “The benefits are huge for both physical and mental wellbeing, teamwork, focus and self-esteem so we set up a Soul Kitchen football team which the guys decided to call Soul Survivors!”

The five-a-side team trains every Wednesday from 12-1pm at Chester Goals on the Sealand Industrial Estate.

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The players also attended their first tournament with Liverpool Homeless FC in Liverpool this week.

Helen said: “We are attending another tournament in Chester in mid August and as a result of our trip to Liverpool, we have been invited by the Community Officer at Tranmere Rovers FC to play there with Wirral Ways to Recovery on Tuesdays, and also to return to Liverpool for their tournaments in the future.

“After only six weeks we now have a core group of five or six, men and women, who train regularly with a few more who come along sporadically, and it is our aim to increase these numbers over the coming weeks and months.

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“We are also in the process of applying for a number of different grants to help us fund the activity and have already been successful in being able to cover the costs of a set of seven full kits and seven pairs of boots.

“The fantastic Weston Grove Fish & Chips have also sponsored a set of seven tracksuits and invited the team down for a fish and chip supper earlier this week.”

For more information check out Soul Kitchen Chester on Facebook.

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