The Crystal Palace FC Foundation were the proud recipient of the Best Community Scheme in the Premier League award, at the annual Football Business awards ceremony on Thursday, held at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge Stadium.
The Foundation were overjoyed to fend off competition from an extremely experienced category, shared with previous winner Everton in the Community and London rivals in hosts Chelsea FC Foundation, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and QPR in the Community Trust.
Now in its fourth year, the Football Business awards celebrate the unsung heroes of the football industry, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to shape the sports infrastructure.
The ceremony was awash with legends of the footballing world, past and present, and hosted by former footballer and BT Sports correspondent Ray Stubbs and guest host Mark Lawrenson.
The event is designed to celebrate successes and reward innovation, off the pitch rather than on it. The 2015 awards were Crystal Palace’s second nomination in the Best Community Scheme category, having finished runners up with a ‘mark of excellence’ at the 2014 awards evening.
The Foundation’s 2015 submission was based on the pioneering Aspire to Engage employment programme, which is entering its second phase of delivery in early 2016.
Originally developed in partnership with Croydon Council and Croydon Voluntary Action the programme focuses on reshaping the lives of young adults who struggle with a range of complex personal, behavioral or emotional issues.
The context of the programme addresses the social and cultural tensions - such as youth unemployment and crime – that occur in Crystal Palace’s home borough of Croydon and seeks to provide positive pathways for young people to gain the education and training they need to reach the job market.
The Crystal Palace FC Foundation has a great track record of engaging with local young people and providing opportunities to improve their life chances.
This programme was designed to go beyond traditional mainstream employment programmes, which had failed to communicate with ‘harder to reach’ young people, and offer an innovative alternative that filled young people with aspiration, resilience and confidence.
Donald Forde, Head of Crystal Palace FC Foundation, commented: “We are overjoyed to be recognised in this category among such esteemed competition. Building on last years ‘Mark of Excellence’, we have spent the last 12 months growing and expanding our community agenda and this award is testament to the hard work of all the Foundation team. It is a fantastic achievement for everyone associated with Crystal Palace FC Foundation and we hope to use this as a springboard for future success.”
Phil Alexander, Chief Executive, Crystal Palace FC, said: “The Foundation’s work within our local community has grown at a tremendous rate and we are delighted with the difference they make under the badge of CPFC. I am sure this will be the first of many successes and we are pleased that our community programme has received the recognition it deserves.”
For more information about the Crystal Palace FC Foundation please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact 020 8768 6047, visit www.cpfcfoundation.org, Tweet @CPFC_Foundation or Facebook /FoundationCPFC