Crystal Palace relaunches club foundation to help transform lives of young people in Bromley
PUBLISHED: 14:41 17 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:41 17 April 2017
The Premier League club trains in Beckenham and is expanding its reach across south London
The Crystal Palace Football Club Foundation last week re-launched as the Palace for Life Foundation with a new vision to transform the lives of young people in Bromley.
The Palace for Life Foundation will work more closely with the Premier League club, who train in Beckenham, using the power of the Palace brand to inspire young people through sport.
It aims to become the charity of choice for Eagles fans across the borough, harnessing their support to help fundraising, and to become known as one of the country’s most pioneering football community foundations.
The new strategy was unveiled by Palace for Life Foundation chief executive Mike Summers and chairman Ed Warner at an event at Selhurst Park, attended by more than 100 invited guests.
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish and manager Sam Allardyce spoke in support of the plans and promised the players would help promote Foundation initiatives.
“It’s a fantastic foundation and everyone would love to support it,” said Allardyce.
The foundation focuses on teaching children the importance of eating well and exercising, mentoring the disadvantaged, particularly those at most risk of becoming caught up in drugs or crime and helping young people make the transition from education to employment, using sport to inspire them.
The foundation’s new mission statement states: “We help young south Londoners grow through the power of sport, inspiring them to find a better path in life, for a better life.
“We believe that everyone matters, irrespective of race, religion, beliefs or background. And by giving extra support to the most vulnerable, we will help create a better community and society”.
The foundation works with almost 10,000 participants a year on its programmes, more than half of them under the age of 12, and helps around 600 people with disabilities to take part in sport.
“Although the name is new, we’ve been working with young people in our area for over 25 years,” Mr Summer said.
“Sport can offer young people vital life lessons and instil positive values that can help them to a better future.
“Our vision is to be recognised as the foremost youth development organisation in south London and amongst the most pioneering football community foundations in the UK.”
Mr Parish added: “The re-launch of our official charity as the Palace for Life Foundation marks an exciting milestone in our relationship with south London.
“The club will do all it can to support the foundation in our shared goals of inspiring our young people to find their strongest path in life, whatever their background or ability.
“This club is so much about the supporters – it’s important we give back to them.”
Angel O’Dwyer, 18, a part-time community coach with the foundation, has been mentored for the last two years since joining its Employability programme and said it had saved her from a life in prison.
“I’ve always been a very confident individual but needed to learn how to work well within a working environment, with other people,” she said.
“Working as a volunteer has made me much more aware of my strengths and challenges.
“I now understand how to communicate amongst my peers on a social level and amongst the staff on a professional level.”
The foundation will be running a series of fundraising events, including a Play at Palace event alongside the Beer Festival on May 27, inviting fans to bid for a chance to play at Selhurst Park alongside football legends.
Its big fundraising event this year will be a marathon sponsored walk from Selhurst Park to Westminster in October led by Palace great Andy Johnson.
Only two per cent of the foundation’s income currently comes from fundraising and donations and the aim is to boost this substantially so it can extend its community programmes.