Extraordinary week of debate at the Homeless World Cup 2019

NewsAugust 5th, 2019

The Bevan Foundation was honoured to be involved in the 17th Homeless World Cup held in Cardiff between 27th July and 3rd August 2019.   Through a programme of debate, poetry, comedy, podcasts and more in the Bevan Tent, participants could learn and reflect on the root causes of homelessness and possible solutions.

More than 80,000 people headed into Bute Park, Cardiff last week during the 17th Homeless World Cup. Many of course went to watch the football as players from 50 countries competed for the prestigious title. But hundreds came to listen, learn and laugh in the aptly-named Bevan Tent.

Katie Dalton (centre) with Dr Rob Smith (l) and Richard Edwards (r)

A huge variety of different events were held in the tent over the week.

On the first day of play, activities ranged from a discussion with Jon Sparkes of Crisis and Katie Dalton of Cymorth about what it would take to end homelessness in Wales to a session with author Russell Hargrave and Cardiff University expert Kerry Moore on the links between immigration and homelessness.  The question of how Cardiff was a hostile environment for homeless people, with Cardiff University’s Dr Robin James Smith and the Huggard‘s Richard Edwards, sparked a lively debate about what would help to tackle homelessness in the city.  The day was rounded off with a hilarious set from comedian Sara Pascoe.

Tuesday brought two contrasting sessions.  First, the audience heard Douglas White of the Carnegie UK Trust, Aled Edwards of Cytun and Charlotte Waite of Kindness Matters Cardiff describe how kindness can overcome isolation and rebuild relationships – Charlotte is seeking a kindness revolution in Cardiff! Second, Michael Sheen introduced Ceri Jackson, BBC Producer of the podcast ‘Shreds: the story of the Cardiff Five‘, one of the worst miscarriages of justice in Wales. John Actie, one of the five, and campaigner Kervin Julien gave chilling testimony of the impact on their lives.

Thursday saw the first screening of Cai’s Story, a film commissioned by Llamau and directed by Tudur Owen, on the experiences of young LGBTQ+ homeless young people. A recording of a podcast by Deborah Francis-White as ‘The Guilty Feminist‘ brought another successful and popular day to a close. These two sessions were followed on Friday by Shelter Cymru leading on the need to design services for homeless people around the person, and Laura McAllister discussion the role of women in football and ‘Women Can‘.

Felicity Evans (l) introduces Moyra Samuel, of Justice4Grenfell

Saturday was finals day and we complemented the football with an amazing line-up. First up was Kerry Hudson talking about her book ‘Lowborn‘ and Mahsuda Snaith on her novel ‘How to Find Home’. A panel debate with Leanne Wood AM, Lindsay Cordery-Bruce, CEO of The Wallich, and Bonnie Navarra, of South Wales Police, positively sizzled with energy and controversy.  Spoken word artists Hanan Issa, Mike Jenkins and Evrah Rose gave spine-tingling performances.  In a more sobering session, Moyra Samuels of Justice4Grenfell reminded the audience of the shocking neglect and disregard of tenants when 72 people lost their lives, with hundreds more still living yards from the remains of the building and amongst toxic chemicals.

The Homeless World Cup 2019 was truly ‘More than a Game’ – not only have 500 players benefited from the experience of playing for their country and thousands of people enjoyed watching, but hundreds have left the event with a deeper understanding of homelessness. And crucially, they know how to play their part to end homelessness for good.


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