The Why Sports 2023 Conference played host to an inspiring and eye-opening presentation titled "How Sports and Activity Helps Those at Risk of or Experiencing Homelessness." Delivered by the Single Homeless Project, a London-based charity dedicated to addressing the needs of the homeless population, this presentation shed light on the transformative power of sports in the lives of those facing the challenges of homelessness.
The charity's Sports project, generously funded by Sport England started in 2018. The project has emerged as a beacon of hope, fostering positive change for individuals struggling with accommodation issues.
"Before we started the project, residents would stay in their rooms for 18 hours a day."
The Impactful Sports Project:
The Single Homeless Sports project is a testament to the belief that sports and physical activity can be powerful tools for social change. Designed to increase engagement and improve the overall well-being of Londoners facing homelessness, the project has already shown remarkable results. With a decade-long commitment from Sport England, the initiative has been able to make a lasting impact on the lives of many.
Increased Care and Quality of Life:
One of the key highlights of the project is its focus on enhancing the quality of life for multiple vulnerable groups, including the disadvantaged, refugees, women and prison leavers. By providing a comprehensive pathway of support, the Single Homeless Project utilises volunteers to deliver an inclusive activity schedule. This diverse range of activities includes fishing, ice skating, walking, gym work, boxing and much more, ensuring that participants can find activities that resonate with their interests and preferences.
The Role of Volunteers:
Volunteers play a crucial role in the success of the Sports project. Their dedication and passion contribute to the creation of a supportive and inclusive environment for participants. By engaging with individuals experiencing homelessness, volunteers become catalysts for positive change, fostering a sense of community and belonging.
Inclusive Activity Schedule:
The Sports project's inclusive activity schedule is a key component of its success. Recognising the diverse needs and preferences of its participants, the project offers a variety of activities, catering to different interests and physical abilities. Whether it's the therapeutic calm of fishing, the exhilaration of ice skating, the camaraderie of group walks, the empowerment of gym workouts, or the discipline of boxing, the project ensures that everyone can find an activity that resonates with them.
Long-term Impact and Sustainability:
The commitment from Sport England speaks to the long-term vision of the project. By providing stable funding, the initiative can plan and implement strategies for sustained impact. This long-term approach allows the Single Homeless Project to build meaningful relationships, track progress and continuously adapt its programs to meet the evolving needs of its participants.
The Single Homeless Project's presentation at the Why Sports 2023 Conference showcased the profound impact that sports and physical activity can have on the lives of those facing homelessness. By addressing not only the immediate needs of accommodation but also the broader aspects of well-being, the Sports project has become a model for inclusive and transformative initiatives. As we celebrate the successes of this project, we are reminded that sports can be a powerful force for positive change, offering hope and empowerment to those who need it the most.