Archive - Thursday, 19 July 2012
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PCSO helps start homeless football team
A police community support officer (PCSO) is giving up her free time and money to form a football team for the homeless.
PCSO Lorraine Thompson has helped start the team
PCSO Lorraine Thompson, who polices Croydon town centre, has been involved in helping homeless people and recovering addicts for the past three years, working with Octopus Community Enterprise to get people off the street.
Her latest venture has seen her team up with fellow volunteers Guy Pile and Francis O’Leary to establish a football team from those she cares for.
She said: "The weekends are the hardest time for them – they often are at a loose end and that is when they are most vulnerable to temptation. This was about just organising something for them to do on a Saturday."
What started as a simple kick about in Park Hill Park six weeks ago has quickly gathered pace and the group are set to begin twice weekly training sessions in the evening, building towards competitive matches.
PCSO Thompson, 51, said: "Eventually I want to look towards helping them get FA coaching licenses so they can take their skills forward. If we can get to that stage I would speak to Crystal Palace football club to see whether they can help find them employment."
With no official funding PCSO Thompson has paid for a set of footballs and goalposts with her own money, and was able to acquire some unwanted bibs from a primary school.
She said: "When I first started the job there were so many homeless people gathering in Queens Gardens and North End and it really affected me. I thought I could make a difference and have been trying since."