Mel Young

Homeless World Cup

Mel Young is recognised as one of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

It was in Cape Town, at the end of the 2001 INSP conference, that Mel and Austrian born Harald Schmied attempted to invent an international language to enable homeless people to communicate with each other around the world. When they realised one already existed – football – the Homeless World Cup was born. The first tournament was held in Austria in 2003 with 18 nations and it has been held annually around the world since then growing to 64 nations for the 2010 event which will held in Rio.

The Homeless World Cup is creating a level of change never before seen by social inclusion initiatives. More than 94% of participants say that it has a positive impact on their lives and over 70 per cent make significant changes in their lives as a direct result of their involvement, such as coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into homes, jobs, education, becoming coaches and players. It has triggered and supports grass roots football projects in over 60 nations involving over 40,000 players who are homeless in training for Rio 2010.

The 2011 Homeless World Cup will be held in Paris.

Previously he worked as a journalist; co-founded The Big Issue in Scotland, a weekly magazine, in 1993; co-founded Senscot (Social Entrepreneurs Network Scotland); former President and Honorary President of INSP (International Network of Street Papers); also set up City Lynx magazine and New Consumer Magazine; worked on a community newspaper in Wester Hailes in Edinburgh in 1990’s.

Also currently a non-executive director on two boards: Sportscotland and Glasgow Culture and Sport; member of the World Economic Forum Sports Agenda Council.

He is a lifelong supporter of Hibernian FC and is the author of Goal: the story of the Homeless World Cup.

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