Chloe and Jade set to represent Wales at Homeless World Cup Thursday 25 July 2019
Two women who will represent Wales at the Homeless World Cup have been speaking about their joy of being selected for the national team – and how they hope the platform will help people in need.
Chloe Byrne, 18, and Jade Winder, 25, will be hoping to secure glory for Wales when the tournament, which is being held at Cardiff’s Bute Park, kicks off on Saturday July 27.
Both ladies live in Yr Hafod, supported accommodation in Denbigh, which is run by Gorwel, a business unit within Grŵp Cynefin housing association.
The duo were picked to be in the eight-person squad after impressing at trials and have been travelling to South Wales for weekly training ahead of the World Cup.
And for Chloe and Jade, the thrill of playing in the tournament has provided wider benefits and is also an opportunity to deliver key messages about homelessness.
Chloe, who is originally from Prestatyn, said: “I have lived in Yr Hafod for six months. I experienced domestic abuse in the family, and when my nan died I was homeless.
“Gorwel has been really good and provided lots of support with things such as budgeting money, cooking, improving my well-being, and training to learn new skills.
“We would also like to thank Gemma Donnellan Thomas who works for Gorwel for travelling with us to training every week in Newport and Cardiff.
“I hope the tournament shines a positive light on homelessness and the support that is available across the country. My advice to anyone who is or about to be homeless is to get all the help you can, listen to what is being said, and don’t give up.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing football and used to play for Rhyl and Prestatyn Ladies FC in defence. It’s really exciting to be playing in the World Cup and the aim is to win it!”
Jade, who spent much of her childhood in Colwyn Heights, added: “I only started playing football three months ago, and now I’m about to play in the World Cup!
“That’s all because of the staff at Yr Hafod. They encouraged me to attend the trials and I got selected. It’s another example of them supporting you beyond providing somewhere to live.
“I still remember arriving and the friendly welcome I received. At the time I was depressed and angry and turning to drink after the death of my mum and nan in the space of two years. Gorwel has been amazing for me and others like me.
“Off the pitch, my teammates have helped me with things like cooking: one of them taught me to make pasta, cheese and beans and it’s my favourite!
“On the pitch, we’re going to win the World Cup and I hope we knock England out!”
The 17th Homeless World Cup will see 500 players from 50 countries take part in 4-a-side matches, and, as hosts, Wales will play in the opening game.
Chloe and Jade will continue their footballing journey when they join Trefnant Ladies FC after the World Cup.
Osian Elis, assistant manager at Gorwel, said: “The commitment shown by Chloe and Jade has been amazing. This is completely out of their comfort zone and it’s challenged them mentally and physically with the trials followed by weekly training in Cardiff.
“They are an inspiration.”
Cllr Bobby Feeley, Denbighshire County Council’s lead member for Well-being and Independence, said: “Denbighshire County Council’s Homelessness Prevention Team works closely with Grŵp Cynefin and are joint commissioners of the project which supported Jade and Chloe as well as other young people who are threatened with homelessness.
“The team is providing financial support to enable them to participate in the World Cup and the Council wishes them the best of luck.”
Gorwel provides services to support individuals and families suffering domestic abuse and those at risk of losing their homes, as well as works to prevent homelessness.
The tournament is split into a mixed-sex competition as well as a women’s only event. The teams have been selected by the local national partners who support football-based programmes and social enterprise development around the world.
The two Welsh teams consist of players aged between 17 and 43, all of whom have been homeless in the last year. They were recruited by Street Football Wales, a charity which promotes social inclusion through football. For more information visit https://homelessworldcup.org/
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