Most capped England player Peter Shilton to join Salvation Army's homeless five-a-side tournament
Guests at Salvation Army homeless centres across the country will come together on Thursday for a five-a-side football tournament in Birmingham.
Hundreds of men and women living in Salvation Army Lifehouses and other supported housing units run by The Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) take part in the Partnership Trophy each year.
The event at the Power League Stadium will be joined by Peter Shilton OBE, the most capped England player of all time.
The former England player represented his country 125 times and during his playing career received an MBE and OBE for services to football. Following his retirement from international football he was awarded the prestigious Order of Merit by the Professional Footballers' Association.
Shilton will be on hand to offer tips to the players and run a penalty shootout master class in the afternoon before presenting the trophies to the winning team at the end of the day.
"The Salvation Army's Lifehouses are incredibly inspiring places and as a former international footballer it's great to see the Army is using football to help develop people's confidence and life skills," he said.
"I am very much looking forward to being part of the day and seeing how the homeless men and women are given a sense of purpose and integration with others through the tournament."
Last year a team from Booth House in Whitechapel, London won the trophy. This June, the winners took to the field in a charity football game against 11 MPs and parliamentary staff in a match to raise awareness of the issues of homelessness and to celebrate the achievements of the winning team.
This year up to 40 teams will take part, including players from Scotland and Ireland. Pret-a-Manger will be providing lunch for all the competitors free of charge.
Mitch Menagh, The Salvation Army's Territorial Director of Homelessness Services, said: "We put on the tournament each year because it gives the homeless men and women at our centres a great sense of achievement, purpose and self-confidence. It is also great because they can learn to work in a team and it creates a sense of community.
"As a Church and a charity we care about the whole person – and we believe that this sort of event can really help to build confidence and important life skills. It's a really enjoyable day and a highlight for many.
"All of our Lifehouses offer a range of support to help break the cycle of homelessness. We do this by offering a compassionate, listening ear, education, training, volunteering, employment skills and much more."
Anthony Tate, 28, was one of those who competed in last year's Partnership Trophy and played in the football match against the MPs.
He was staying on people's sofas before he was given a place at Booth House in London.
"It was hard just sleeping on people's sofas," he said.
"I wanted to get a flat of my own, and the staff at the Lifehouse helped me to do this. I am really grateful to them. It was brilliant to play in the Partnership Trophy – it was such a good day. I would recommend anyone staying in a Lifehouse to take part."