Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Armstrong tackling homelessness with new role at charity

By Jill Goligher

Northern Ireland football legend Gerry Armstrong has been named an ambassador for a homelessness charity.

The 1982 World Cup hero has linked up with Street Soccer NI, which helps people living on the street play football.

At the weekend, Armstrong attended a street soccer event where he presented caps to Homeless World Cup players.

The charity helps homeless people turn their lives around, giving them the chance to compete with others.

Working in partnership with the East Belfast Mission, the Housing Executive, the Simon Community and the Irish Football Association (IFA), the charity also offers support with housing, employability and other issues affecting homeless people it works with.

Armstrong said he was hugely proud of his new role.

"I am so pleased to be announced as an ambassador for Street Soccer NI," he added. "What a great cause to be involved with and a wonderful opportunity to help people representing our country achieve their goals to compete in a world cup competition.

"This can give them confidence, belief and a chance to get jobs and homes and to improve their situation in life."

Michael Boyd, the chairman of Street Soccer NI and the IFA's director of football development, said he was delighted to have Gerry on board.

"It's fantastic to have someone with Gerry's experience shining the spotlight on a charity that does such good work with marginalised groups, and we hope this will raise the profile of our work in the community tackling homelessness through football," he added.

Player Martin Methven said Street Soccer NI had made a huge difference to his life, with him going from getting in fights and living in hostels to playing in the Homeless World Cup.

"Street Soccer NI has put me on the straight and narrow," he explained. "I got into trouble when I first moved into hostels - I got into fights and was charged with two assaults.

"Since returning from the world cup, Street Soccer has helped me get a full-time job in Tesco and my own house."

Another player, Emma Fisher, added: "I'm delighted to be involved in Street Soccer NI. It helps with my confidence and gives me something to look forward to every week."

The organisation is currently preparing for this year's Homeless World Cup in Norway.

A men and women's team will be travelling to Oslo for the week-long event.

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