Salvation Army football team gets a warm welcome at Ipswich Town Football Club

(Photo: The Salvation Army)

A Salvation Army football team comprising men from one of its homeless shelters was the guest of honour at Ipswich Town Football Club as part of the English Football League's Day of Action. 

The football team was formed of residents and staff at the church's Lyndon House Lifehouse, an accommodation centre in Ipswich that also offers specialist support for men experiencing homelessness.

The EFL's Day of Action on Tuesday saw all 72 member clubs come together to support some of the charity work being done across England to address areas of need in society. 

Ipswich Town invited the Salvation Army players to a training session at its practice pitch on Portman Road where they enjoyed a chat with Blues striker Will Keane. 

Keane said: "It was great to meet the lads and hear their stories. Football can unite people and I hope that this experience was beneficial to them because they deserve it. It was fantastic to meet the staff as well. They should be very proud of all the work they do."

The football team was started at the Lifehouse by specialist support worker Stephen Gray as a way of building community among the men while also promoting a healthy lifestyle. 

He said: "The Salvation Army recognises that it's not just food and shelter that is needed to help people rebuild their lives so, alongside offering training in basic life skills and housing advice, we also provide support that focuses on all-round wellbeing.

"Football can provide a good release for the guys and the struggles they're going through. A day like this is brilliant for them. They were all very excited and seeing a professional footballer gives them a bit of inspiration as well as a few tips to use on the pitch."

Lyndon House resident Warren said: "I'm glad I got the chance to play at Portman Road – not many people get the opportunity. I'm very thankful."