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Mel Young

President and Co-Founder, Homeless World Cup


Mel Young is recognised as one of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. In 1993 he co-founded The Big Issue in Scotland, with Tricia Hughes. The weekly magazine is sold by homeless people in the streets of Scotland and now has a circulation of 40,000. With the success of The Big Issue in Scotland, he helped set up the International Network of Street Papers, a global network of over sixty street papers sold in every continent, of which he is Honorary President. The combined annual circulation of these papers is over 30 million helping 100,000 homeless or long-term unemployed people throughout the world every year. 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 teams attending from around the world. This was followed by Sweden 2004, Edinburgh 2005, Cape Town 2006 and was staged in Copenhagen in July 2007 with 48 teams taking part. The Homeless World Cup is creating a level of change never before seen by social inclusion initiatives. Following 2005, more than 94% of participants said that it had a positive impact on their lives and 77% had made significant changes in their lives as a direct result of their involvement. In June 2002, recognising the potential of Fair Trade as a successful tool to alleviate poverty, Mel founded New Consumer Magazine, the UK’s fair trade and ethical lifestyle magazine, enabling consumers to use their purchasing power to change the world. Mel is the author of GOAL: The story of the Homeless World Cup, published by Birlinn. He is a life long supporter of Hibernian Football Club.