Foundation 92 Walking Football

Foundation 92 is Salford City’s official charity partner and has been helping to change lives in Salford since forming 18 months ago.

Damian Owens found himself without a home and jobless for over two years until the organisation supported him in turning his fortunes around.

“I was couch surfing really. I wasn’t like ‘street-street’ homeless, staying on the street every night – I think I stayed on the street like once – it was a really weird time in my life.

“I’d worked hard, but I went through patches where it just corrupted me, with stuff I was getting into and my past.

“I used to let it eat me up and I just became massively depressed to the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed because I didn’t see any point in it.

“There were steps I had put into place but it wasn’t noticeable until Foundation 92 and then it was like I started seeing a massive difference.

“I started seeing a motivation, I started seeing a purpose, and it really massively helped and boosted a lot of confidence and a lot of sheer enjoyment.

“It was mainly the staff members who were just genuine, and they weren’t judging you because you’re from a homeless shelter, they were just like come on, if you want to have a chat we’ll meet you and it was just nice to be spoken to like you’re not scum.”

Part of Foundation 92’s work during the pandemic was supplying food packages and this is where Damian heard about their sessions:

“I was in a homeless shelter, they came to provide food parcels and then the people at the homeless shelter told us about the sessions.

“It was football – the first session – I can’t remember what day it was, but it was just before Christmas and I just kept going back because it was football.

“At first, that was literally why I wanted to go back and when you’d go down it was just a good environment to be in.”

Damian now works full time at the Foundation and is helping play a part in turning other people’s lives around:

“I wanted to volunteer just to get back in the work environment, so I ended up doing a kickstart course.

“So, just getting me ready to go back to work, doing like work-related booklets and then, as I was going through that, I got told that I had a potential job at the end of it, and I went and spoke to the director and he was like yeah you’ve got a job.

“Because I’d worked before, but I hadn’t worked for two and a half years, it was a bit like this is what I’ve missed – the routine I’ve missed and just being a part of something.

“I really enjoy it and I still do. Even like the day I first started I’ve got that nervous and excited feeling now still to this day.

“It’s always been a massive passion of mine – helping people.

“Not just helping people in terms of the things I’ve been through, but just helping people in general. Even if I don’t know what they’ve been through, just having a little chat with them.”

The Foundation is an independent registered charity that focuses on supporting communities to improve their lives through sport, education and bespoke projects; with an emphasis on positive physical and mental wellbeing.

The Salford organisation supports the wider community, offering help to those living with additional needs and disabilities, those tackling homelessness, and young people who have or may be at risk of committing offences, among other groups.

“I think it’s massively important just for the community, as in the people who come and join the sessions.

“Not only that, but to come and have a chat, see a face, see a different environment, and just get involved in stuff with different people who I’ve never met before, and make different kind of friends.

“Also, I think it’s important for the staff members as well, I think we enjoy it more than the kids to be honest, because we see a potential.

“We see great vibes and different stuff happening, and sometimes when you’re taking part in the sessions, you don’t see it, but watching the sessions and delivering the sessions you see the outcomes from it, so it works massively in both types of ways.”

You can listen to the full interview with Damian here:

Jordan Kay, the Foundation 92 Inclusion Co-ordinator, also spoke to Salford Now about the impact the organisation has had on the community and you can see his interview here:

“There really has been some success stories that have come out of people coming to us” – Foundation 92 coordinator talks about the charity’s impact

More information about Foundation 92 can be found on their website.

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