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Michael Sheen a ‘non-for-profit actor’ funding Homeless World Cup

Welsh actor Michael Sheen revealed that he has ‘essentially turned [himself] into a social enterprise’ after selling his home to fund the 2019 Homeless World Cup.

In an interview with the Big Issue, Sheen talked about how the World Cup was a ‘turning point’ for him, after he sold two houses to bankroll the project when its £2m funding fell through at the last minute.

‘I had to make a decision- I could walk away… all those people who were banking on coming to have this life-changing experience wouldn’t have it.’

Instead, Sheen put up his house in America and his house in the UK to see through the 17th edition of the Homeless World Cup, which sees over 500 players who have all faced homelessness and social marginalisation compete in a week-long street tournament.

His first turning point came before this, in 2011, after a 72-hour production of the Passion through the streets of his hometown Port Talbot.

He recalls how he got to know the ‘people and organisations’ in his hometown; the charities that helped young carers, with just enough funding to make a tiny difference to a kid’s life.

These organisations would cease to exist when the funding disappeared, causing Michael Sheen to realise that the difference between these children’s lives being a little better or not was merely a matter of funding.

Since then, Sheen has pledged to use the money he earns from acting to fund more projects.

The actor, known for his roles in The Queen, Frost/Nixon, and Good Omens, is no stranger to charity work.

He is currently the honorary President of Wales Council for Voluntary Action, Welsh ambassador of Into Film, a charity which offers after-school film clubs to state schools and the patron of many charities including the NSPCC’s Child’s Voice Appeal and WGCADA (West Glamorgan Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse).

In 2017, he set up the End High Cost Credit Alliance, an organisation to help people

find more affordable ways of borrowing money, and has pledged £50,000 to help low-income Welsh students go to Oxford University.

Sheen also received an OBE for his services to drama in 2009, but handed it back last year after taking a ‘crash course’ in Welsh history.

His new film, Last Train to Christmas, comes out this month.