This summer, football was the key to unlocking a better future for vulnerable people in Salford.
Each week, locals who have overcome homelessness have been invited to take part in football sessions organised via Emmaus Salford and Salford City FC's Foundation 92, which was set up to support homeless and vulnerable adults from across the city with the long-term aim of getting people into employment and housing.
And, in one of the sessions, the group was visited by Salford City FC co-owner and football legend Ryan Giggs.
Kevin O’Kell was once homeless but has since turned his life around and has a job thanks to support from Emmaus Salford. He took part in the 92 Shield programme - delivered by Foundation 92 - and was one of the lucky few to met Ryan Giggs when the United legend came to visit.
Kevin said: “Meeting Ryan Giggs and hearing him speak, it was clear that the owner’s support of Salford City FC goes far beyond the club. They want to benefit communities and people across Salford.
“The weekly football sessions are brilliant and the Foundation 92 coaches do a great job. It’s helping me keep fit and I’m really enjoying it."
Dylan McKellar is another who was supported by Emmaus Salford and took part in the 92 Shield programme. Like Kevin, Dylan was also homeless, but has now found a full-time job and is looking to move into his own flat.
“A few of the lads from Emmaus who were into football joined the sessions with Foundation 92. We trained, played 5-a-side football matches together and it was good fun.
"The football sessions were also good for my confidence as it got me talking a bit more.”
Foundation 92 also helps Emmaus Salford’s Lucie’s Pantry in delivering 500 free food parcels to the homes of struggling families.
Rachel Richardson, Community Director at Emmaus Salford, said: “Much of our work is focused on giving opportunities to formerly homeless people whilst offering essential products and services to housed individuals and families in need.
"This summer, with the fantastic support of Foundation 92, we have been able to further enrich the lives of our residents and expand the support offered by Lucie’s Pantry.
"Through collaboration with Emmaus, Foundation 92 is proud to be able to deliver a free weekly football session which not only provides service users with the opportunity to have fun, get fit and healthy and learn new skills, but also provides people with a sense of belonging and achievement, which helps them improve their confidence and self-worth.”
Emmaus Salford supports 22 formerly homeless people by providing a stable home, meaningful work and individual support for as long as they need it. Emmaus operates three charity stores in the city as well as Lucie’s Pantry social supermarket and a new School Uniform Hub.
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