Player Empowerment in Utrecht

The third and final Homeless World Cup Erasmus+ exchange of 2016 took place in the town of Utrecht, the Netherlands, from October 31st to November 3rd. Delegates from Belgium, England, Hungary, Wales and the Netherlands explored the topic of “Player Empowerment.” The attendees discussed ways to increase participants’ autonomy and self-determination, specifically taking ownership over their own development, and ultimately their lives – and the various ways in which their football programmes can facilitate and promote that goal.

The exchange took place in the offices of Life Goals, the Homeless World Cup National Partner in the Netherlands. Delegates got to cycle to the offices on hired bikes while getting chance to see the city. On the night of the first exchange, they were treated to a tour of the city organised by Utrecht Underground, a social enterprise that delivers alternative city tours with a focus on homelessness. Their guide, Fred, had first hand experience and knowledge of the struggles faced by homeless people in the city, thus offering his guests a unique insight to his home city.

After sharing experiences and good practice, delegates narrowed down clear cases for empowerment, and helped with the development of a toolkit that will serve to offer advise to other organisations on how best to engage and empower participants.

Utrecht was the last Erasmus+ Exchange of this year, six more exchanges are yet to take place – three next year, and three more the year after – totaling in nine exchanges by the end of 2018.