We have two worthy causes for you today as part of our new weekly feature on charities related to football. Should you be doing something for charity that is related to the game, feel free to drop us a line via the contact page at the top of the site and we will be happy to include your cause as well.

The Homeless World Cup: Homelessness is Britain is a social issue that successive governments have failed to fully get a grip on, and some of the figures concerning the issue can be frightening. The average life expectancy, for example, of a homeless person in the UK is just forty-two years of age. The Homeless World Cup came about as the brainchild of Mel Young, one of the co-founders of The Big Issue, and Harald Schmied, as a means of promoting the cause of tackling homelessness through what they describe as “the international language” of football. The first tournament was held in Graz, in Austria, in 2003 and it has now become an annual event, with this year’s tournament being held at the end of August in Paris.

What difference, though, does the Homeless World Cup make? Well, aside from raising money and consciouness for the cause, it can make a real difference to those who compete in it. Within a year of the first tournament, 31 of the 141 players that took part in it were holding down regular employment. This year, the website Ulule is trying to raise £50,000 in order to fund sending five teams – Cambodia, Kenya, Malawi, Palestine and Paraguay – to the tournament. To say that this would be the fulfilment of a dream for those lucky enough to be able to travel would be an understatement to say the very least. There are further details about this on their website. The Homeless World Cup is supported by the Football Supporters Federation, and you can find out more about their work by clicking here.

Lionsraw: Lionsraw was established in 2004, with the aim of harnessing the passion of football for good causes. Seven years on, there can be little doubt that this charity has been successful. During the World Cup in South Africa last year, 150 Lionsraw England supporters worked in South Africa, constructing four buildings in one of the country’s poorest townships – The Valley Of A Thousand Hills – just outside of Durban. On top of running soccer schools that were attended by over 1,000 children, they constructed desperately-needed buildings at a township in which seventy per cent is HIV positive. On top of this, it also established long-term financial support and supply of clothes, food, medical supplies to the children through the Valley Legacy Fund. The organisation has plans for further trips, to Poland for the 2012 European Championships and to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.

Such projects, of course, do not come cheap and this is where you can help out. Next month, Lionsraw will be hosting a unique fund-raising event – Match For A Day. To be held at the London Soccerdome in Greenwich, London, a team made up of Lionsraw members will play for twenty-four hours against teams that can raise enough money to earn an hour on the pitch against them. For as little as £150, you can have your team play against them for an hour, secure in the knowledge that the money that you raise will be going to a very good cause indeed. In addition to this, there are also sponsorship packages available for those that can’t face the thought of running around for an hour (never mind twenty-four) or who have deeper pockets. Further details on Lionsraw are available here, and you can follow them on Twitter here.

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