Birmingham City Football Club’s Community Trust has launched a new project with local charities to change the lives of homeless people across the city, offering them life skills, safe accommodation and the guarantee of a job interview on completing the programme.
The Blues For Life project will work in partnership with Changes UK and Let’s Feed Brum to identify an initial cohort of 12 homeless people, and from there provide a three-month support network.
Coaches from Birmingham City will deliver a 12-week life skills course, focusing on employment techniques, whilst lead-charity partner Changes UK will assist with safe and secure accommodation, rehabilitative services – where needed – and a round-the-clock mentorship scheme.
BCFC Community Trust has also secured a partnership with Vital – one of the UK’s largest suppliers of skilled railway personnel – to guarantee all participants who complete the full programme a traineeship, apprenticeship or job interview for a contractual position.
In order to fund all aspects of the Blues For Life project, the BCFC Community Trust team will be joined by the club’s commercial partners and Birmingham business leaders for a sleepout at St. Andrew’s, with a target of £20,000 needed to cover all aspects of the training, mentoring and rehoming. Organised by CEO Sleepout, Lloyds Banking Group and Low6 are already signed up to take part on Monday 6 December, with several more club partners due to sign-up in the coming weeks.
Antony Isherwood, community director at BCFC Community Trust, said: “We want to introduce a project that focuses on more than just a single moment in time, we want to provide a service that can potentially change the lives of homeless people in the city for good. The Blues For Life project is about giving people choices – we want to support them to a position where they are in full control of their lives and equip them to take the road they want to take upon finishing the 12-week course.”
Paul Tait, former Blues midfielder and ambassador for Changes UK, said: “I struggled with addiction for years and there were times I believed that there was no way out for me. I am fortunate that even at my lowest points I was not made homeless but it so easily could have been a different story.
“As an Ambassador for Changes UK I am delighted to be part of Birmingham’s CEO Sleepout raising funds for two charities so close to my heart that do so much for those in our city who need it the most. We have got to start getting comfortable with talking about addiction so that people don’t reach a place of homelessness, and bringing together Birmingham’s Business community to be part of the conversation in a great place to start.”
If you would like to support the Blues For Life project, donations can be made on the funding page by visiting www.goldengiving.com/wall/birmingham-city-football-club-community-trust or if you would like to take part in the CEO Sleepout, you can sign up via www.ceosleepoutuk.com/brum.