15 May 2024

Goals for Good: Giving homelessness the boot

George Tanton

A photo of people watching a football game on TV

George Tanton finds out about Goals for Good, a new campaign tackling homelessness through football.

Football is a universal language,’ explains Digital Marketing and Fundraising Officer Will Lee. ‘Thare so many ways in which people engage with it.’

A lifelong Sheffield United supporter, Will still enjoys watching the Blades at Bramall Lane with his dad. He credits the sport as a social glue for many communities, remembering the sense of togetherness shared among spectators.

‘My dad has been a season ticket holder for 50 to 60 years,’ he says. ‘He’s been sitting with the same group of people since they were 12 or 13. Football groups meet social needs and provide a key place of belonging.’

That sense of community has inspired Goals for Good – a campaign aimed at encouraging football fans to support The Salvation Army’s mission to tackle homelessness. The project also provides an opportunity to build greater ties between communities and corps across the territory, leading new audiences to connect with the Army at a local level.

The upcoming Euro 2024 tournament and Summer Olympics Cup will present opportunities for evangelism, for example in schools and workplaces, which Goals for Good will capitalise on by encouraging ‘watch parties’ at corps buildings and Salvationists’ homes.

‘Walking into a Salvation Army building and watching a game of football might spark conversations or interest in other events at your corps. That could then lead to coming to a Bible study or an Alpha course,’ explains Will.

Another opportunity for relationship-building will be ‘wear your kit’ days, when Salvationists and Army staff members can don their favourite football shirt, scarf or flag for church and work respectively, in return for sponsored donations to the Army’s Homelessness Services.

Football-based activism is not a new idea for the Army. The annual Partnership Trophy organised by Homelessness Services and Salvation Army Homes has run for the past 13 years. Goals for Good will seek to build upon the football tournament’s overwhelming success.

‘Football can be a mouthpiece for social change,’ asserts Will. ‘The Partnership Trophy has shown it can be an amazing vehicle for improving people’s lives. Goals for Good is all about getting together around football, and tackling homelessness at the same time.’

Will wants the campaign to be as inclusive as possible, with both the men’s and women’s game equally celebrated. It will stretch a hand of fellowship to people outside traditional church circles or not typically connected with The Salvation Army. It is hoped that Goals for Good will capitalise on people’s love for the sport and unite them together.

In the past few years, a number of podcasts and online communities have developed that get together virtually and talk about football.

It is hoped that Goals for Good can harness this kind of passion to help the Army help those most vulnerable in society – and kick off connections with communities that can last beyond the summer, including children, young people, families and older people’s groups.

‘Goals for Good provides a ready-made opportunity to connect with people. Hosting watch parties at your corps might engage your neighbours who may have never been to church. Their kids might love football and it may be an opportunity to get people together, even if they’re not massive football fans!’ adds Will.

Interview by

George Tanton

George Tanton

Editorial Assistant, Salvationist

Find out more about Goals for Good

Join the campaign to help end homelessness.

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