Crystal Palace FC Foundation has been working in partnership with Croydon Community First: Neighbourhood Matched Fund to run a five week football programme within the Selhurst Ward throughout the summer holiday for local youngsters.
With almost 500 recorded attendances the programme offered a free structured football coaching programme to children and young people aged five to 19 years. The sessions which took place at Selhurst astro turf, Dagnall Park, offered young people two training sessions on Monday and Tuesday evenings followed by a tournament night on Fridays.
As a reward for all of their hard work in training, the Selhurst Ward players were offered the opportunity to test their skills in a match situation by playing at the Crystal Palace FC academy dome at the CPNSC against other Foundation programme teams such as Croydon Kickz, Bromley Kickz and Breaking Barriers. Two participants from the Selhurst Ward programme were also invited to join a visit to Thorpe Park on a day trip with other youths from the CPFC Foundation’s Social Inclusion programmes.
The sessions were lead by Foundation Community coach George Henry, a young person from Croydon Kickz who became an FA qualified coach and has subsequently built up a great reputation with participants at coaching sessions. George said: “This is a great programme as we have got these youngsters into positive activities. They are taking it seriously and the buzz around the area is great as we are getting loads more new young people at each session and with a regular attendance of 35 young people per session it’s fantastic for a community programme.”
The provision of exit routes is a very important part of community work and through the Selhurst Ward sessions three young people will be taking their places on the Futsal and Education Scholarship Programme which will run thoughout the next two academic years with the Crystal Palace FC Foundation. Two young people also become volunteers at the sessions and now have the opportunity of attending a 1st4sport FA Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Football Course in October with the aim of becoming a paid member of staff for the Foundation in the near future.
Sherif, a young person from the programme, said: “This programme is great, it offers many different things such as people that just want to play, people that are looking to get a qualification or become volunteers and people that want to attend sessions and play football. George has shown me how to be a better person within myself and has pushed his knowledge to everyone else that’s why we are getting loads of people turning out each week.”
The young children from the area also had a great time at the daytime sessions and members of the local community welcomed the opportunity to receive free football coaching under the expertise of the CPFC Foundation staff.
Mrs Elliot said: “My son Rex enjoyed playing on the astro turf surface” and Carlos Anthony added “ I enjoyed playing on a better surface and also playing with people older than me”.