The passion in football can change lives – and living proof comes from the Crystal Palace FC Foundation, the club’s charitable arm, which touches the lives of thousands of youngsters every year across south London.
This week, the foundation reached out to the community of south London asking for partnership, support and ideas to help it further improve the community work it does through its coaching and mentoring programmes.
The foundation launched its new strategy at a prestigious event hosted by Sky Sports news presenter Vicky Gomersall at Croydon Town Hall, where it heard the stories of some of the many lives touched by the foundation and its ambitions to expand its charitable work further in future years.
David Groves, chairman of the Crystal Palace Foundation, told a packed room why as a lifelong supporter he first got involved that the foundation, while head of the foundation, Donald Forde, explained the key aims in its new three-year strategy. These included growing the game, childhood support, youth and community development, education, employment and business, and health and well-being.
Palace manager Ian Holloway, who was also in attendance at the event, told the audience about the inspiration he had received from his own father to become a footballer. He said: “My dad said you would meet some wonderful people through football and here I am, meeting wonderful people who aren’t just thinking about themselves but about other people.
"My dad was right – this game heals all sorts of wounds. It teaches you how can’t achieve something on your own, you can be part of team, you need someone around you, a community, and that’s what we can do – we can reach out to people who haven’t got what we’ve got and make them shine and believe in themselves.
“I am so proud of what Crystal Palace does in the community,” said Holloway, who added that coming to Croydon was "like coming home."
“To me this is a club with a heart beating so loud I want the rest of London to remember it. I wish everyone could be touched by Palace – you won’t ever forget this place because it’s absolutely sensational.”
Further information on the strategy is available by emailing JennyBourke@CPFCfoundation.org.
Any organisation wanting to work with the foundation to help it expand its charitable work should email DonaldForde@cpfcfoundation.org.