Homeless Participate in Soccer Festivities in the Central City

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Watching the drama of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ soccer teams has fast become a favourite pastime for many Capetonians, including many homeless people who have taken the opportunity to watch on the big screen at the Scalabrini Centre, just a couple of blocks away from the Fan Fest on the Grand Parade.Although viewing at the Fan Fest is free, and open to all, the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) and its partner organisations felt it was important to also offer an additional viewing arrangement for those who preferred not to go to the Parade.

“It is not much fun to go to the Fan Fest if you don’t have money for a drink or something to eat while you are watching the game,” commented Paul Jones, one of the over 100 people who were at the Scalabrini Centre earlier this week. “Here we get a hot meal and coffee, and it is a great atmosphere.”

The local Haven Shelters, Straatwerk and the City of Cape Town were involved with the initial discussions about how Cape Town’s street people could be part of the World Cup experience. The CCID decided to partner with the Scalabrini Centre, Youth Solutions Africa and The Carpenter’s Shop to offer an additional viewing option at the Scalabrini Centre.

“Many of the games are played late at night and we thought it would be great if we were able to provide a warm meal and refreshments for our people living on the streets,” said Pat Eddy, Social development manager of the CCID. “We also wanted to ensure that everyone felt comfortable to participate in the excitement and festivities of the occasion”

Pastor John Philmon from Youth Solutions Africa was appointed as manager of the project. His organisation, together with The Carpenter’s Shop is responsible for the preparation and serving of the food and refreshments. Scalabrini Centre is providing the venue and tea and coffee and the CCID is covering the management fee, cost of food and snacks, the technical rig and the decorations. The Carpenter’s Shop is also distributing the CCID’s Winter Care Bags and providing hot showers for any street people who would like to use them.

“I have a very positive feeling about this,” said Pastor John. “We are really enjoying building strong relationships in a relaxed atmosphere. It is a unique opportunity to be able to spend a couple of hours each day with the people who choose to view the games with us in order to be better able to find solutions to the challenges that homeless people face.”

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