The proposal to build a football-themed self-management and personal development centre for people experiencing homelessness in Edinburgh has been unveiled. The Change Centre, which is the idea of Street Soccer Scotland founder David Duke, could see 32 en-suite bedrooms, living facilities and a community hub with six football pitches, created at Morgan Playing Field off Peffermill Road.
The complex is expected to cost around £5 million and a public consultation has been launched to seek the views of residents. David Duke has come up with a plan that will give homeless people the three essential things he believes are needed to turn their lives around: security, relationships and purpose.
“The Change Centre can change lives for the better and get people back on their feet for good. It will offer hope, relationships and purpose, but much more than that it’ll break away some of the misconceptions around homelessness,” David said. “We don’t want the Change Centre to be just another place offering a roof for people who are homeless. We want to be part of the community, working with locals and users of the Change Centre to build trust and understanding.”
The centre would be run using a social enterprise model, where those referred to the centre would work alongside staff. Residents could help run the community facility by volunteering, cleaning, cooking, receptionist, football coaching and more. Up to 30 jobs could also be created.
Even though the planning application hasn’t been submitted yet, developers are preparing a community asset transfer request for the land, owned by City of Edinburgh Council. If approved, the centre would be located at the home of Edinburgh South Community Football Club, which already serves around 650 players in and around the community.
“Through collaboration, the Change Centre will help homeless people to find a purpose and direction in a community organisation. We hope that this can be an example of football bringing change for people who need it most, as well as benefiting our local community,” commented Edinburgh South Community Football Club chairman, Brian Waugh.