Andy Johnson has given his support to players competing for a place at The Salvation Army’s annual homelessness football tournament.
Teams from Lifehouses (hostels) across the Midlands and south will take part in a regional play-off, with the finalists joining others from across the UK at The Partnership Trophy event in Manchester in September.
Mr Johnson said: "I’m really happy to be involved with The Salvation Army’s Partnership Trophy in Birmingham.
"This regional tournament brings together five lifehouses where people have lost homes or are trying to get a place to call home.
"Playing football together in teams encourages relationship building, improves health and confidence and is fun.
"We all need a lift through difficult circumstances and I fully support the event, which will help people to compete as a team, raising their potential together.
"I’m looking forward to meeting the players, seeing some great football and sharing some tips."
Mr Johnson will support the Partnership Trophy players in a Q&A session at the Birmingham event, talking about his career in football, sharing his tips on the sport and presenting trophies.
Regional manager of Salvation Army Homelessness Services, Nathan Slinn said the Partnership Trophy was a celebration of everything residents had overcome and achieved.
He said: "It’s a day for everyone in our services to come together, staff, volunteers and service users alike, for some healthy competition and a bit of fun.
"Experiencing homelessness certainly does not define a person, this is often a temporary situation.
"However, some people have been battling personal issues for some time, that may not have been addressed for years, or even decades.
"Our professional services and our partners can help people deal with these complex issues, such as debt, addiction and trauma."
The event draws people together from Skegness, Birmingham, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Reading, although The Salvation Army have 80 lifehouses across the UK.