Shaper: David Duke

David Duke

David Duke is the founder and CEO of recently named ‘Charity of the Year’, Street Soccer Scotland, a non-profit organisation that uses football to help create positive change in the lives of socially disadvantaged adults and young people. More recently, David has set up Change Centre Scotland, a new social enterprise whose vision is aimed at tackling homelessness by a creating personal development and self management centres.

David works closely with local and national Government, sports governing bodies, mental health charities, housing associations, professional football clubs and some of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs, all with the aim of improving the lives of those who face some of society’s biggest challenges.

He is a well-known face, and voice, in his sector and is recognised as an authority on sport and social change. David is a regular contributor at the international Doha Goals Forum and has been a speaker at other global events including TEDx, Beyond Sport Global Summit and was an honoured guest of the Special Olympics in LA. David is also Global Ambassador for the Homeless World Cup organisation, an Ambassador for Charity Quarriers and an Advisory Board Member for UNICEF (Scotland).

He was named The Sunday Times ‘Change Maker’ of the Year in 2012 and a CNN Hero in 2016. David has also been recognised by Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University which awarded him an Honorary Doctorate for his work in his field.

Follow David on Twitter @MrDavidDuke.

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Street Soccer Scotland uses football to engage with people who are cut off from society, through homelessness, mental health, addiction problems or maybe working with refugee communities…

The reason behind it all was my own personal experience…I got involved in a football tournament down in Glasgow Green, sixteen homeless projects all playing football, and then got selected to represent Scotland at the Homeless World Cup.

Sir Alex Ferguson came on board as an ambassador which obviously increased our profile.

Creating change is a team effort. You can’t just rely on charities or charitable trusts or local authorities, the business community has a massive role to play and lots of skills to contribute.

When I look at society just now and I look at my own areas in Glasgow and Edinburgh I still see real inequality and real injustice.

I’m representing people out there who don’t have a voice…there’s a term people use ‘oh we work with hard to reach…’. I call it ‘easy to forget’.

I’m looking at these guys and lasses on the street thinking, if only you had the opportunity because actually I’m seeing talent, I’m seeing bus drivers, I’m seeing doctors and jazz musicians…

It’s about feeling part of the community, it’s about having some purpose in life and something positive to do each day…for me, if somebody wants to make a difference just go and chat and say hello.

When we hear stories of players showing courage just to turn up for football or to do a training course or to take that job…that’s success. All the other stuff, yes it’s good for funders but the real stuff happens on the pitch and that’s how I personally measure success.

People are people regardless of your mental health or if you’re homeless, you know. People are people, and we need to remember that.