Advertisement - Content continues below
Housing

How the Homeless World Cup brought Wayne from prison to The Big Issue

The 43-year-old Wales coach will be leading his team on home turf when the tournament heads to Cardiff in July

Wayne Ellaway admits that he had “almost given up on life” before the Homeless World Cup triggered a remarkable turnaround in his fortunes.

The Welshman was sofa surfing and suffering with substance abuse after being released from prison in 2013 – but things changed for the better after he learned about Street Football Wales while staying in Cardiff hostel Tŷ Gobaith Lifehouse.

Wayne went along to a training session that proved to be life changing. From there, he went to Amsterdam in 2015 as a player in an experience that he described as “unforgettable” and proved instrumental in restoring his self-esteem and confidence.

Since then, the 43-year-old has taken on a coaching role in subsequent tournaments, including achieving a life-long ambition to see to the Americas when the Homeless World Cup headed to Mexico City last year.

“Homeless World Cup is such an amazing experience,” said Street Football Wales head coach Wayne. “There’s food, music, fun, laughter. There’s representatives from the rest of the world who express themselves on the pitch and off the pitch. The flair on the pitch is phenomenal.”

Advertisement - Content continues below
Advertisement - Content continues below

This year, more than 500 players from 50 countries will head to Cardiff for the week-long tournament on July 27.

The bid to bring the tournament to Wales was helmed by actor Michael Sheen, who is also taking a hands-on role in organising the tournament.

It is a chance for people in Wales to go through the same life-changing process as Wayne, who now works for The Big Issue as a sales and outreach worker.

“If people have experienced homelessness or substance abuse for such a long time, they’ve been excluded from society and have no connections with human beings,” he said. “To come along and be part of something that’s real it makes them human.”

The Homeless World Cup will take place in Cardiff’s Bute Park from July 27–August 3

Image: Homeless World Cup

Advertisement - Content continues below

Support us today

Over the last 30 years, your contributions have been vital in providing opportunities for those facing poverty by giving them a hand up, not a hand out. Support us to help thousands more. Buy a copy from your local vendor, donate or subscribe online today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Government announces £65m fund to support struggling renters
Housing

Government announces £65m fund to support struggling renters

The Vagrancy Act: What is it and why is it facing calls to be scrapped?
Housing

The Vagrancy Act: What is it and why is it facing calls to be scrapped?

How you can make your home energy efficient
Housing

How you can make your home energy efficient

Homelessness facts and statistics: The numbers you need to know in 2021
Housing

Homelessness facts and statistics: The numbers you need to know in 2021

Most Popular

Read All
'What kidnappers do' - DWP forcing universal credit claimants to pose for photo with daily paper
1.

'What kidnappers do' - DWP forcing universal credit claimants to pose for photo with daily paper

The problems with BT's £50m 888 app to protect women on their way home
2.

The problems with BT's £50m 888 app to protect women on their way home

Why England's rivers are so polluted and will be for years to come
3.

Why England's rivers are so polluted and will be for years to come

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 cut matter?
4.

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 cut matter?