At the launch of the Palace for Life Foundation held at Selhurst Park last week there were some tremendous inspirational stories as examples of how the Foundation have worked with South Londoners in the past and this will remain a key priority now the relaunch has taken place.
A perfect example of their work was 18 year-old Angel O’Dwyer, she has mentored by the Foundation for the last two years after being part of the Barclays Premier League Works Employability programme, and at the launch told an emotional story of how the Foundation played a major role in turning her life around.
Angel was going through her GCSE exams when she was referred to the Premier League Works Programme taking place at The CPFC Foundation and she is the first to say that it was really a massive turning point as she was struggling to progress and stay focussed to any long term aims.
A place on this programme was just the inspiration she needed coming through as a strong leader and through her own experiences provided others with the inspiration to build something for their lives that they would be proud of.
She went on to join the Foundation’s Community Eagles Volunteers programme, and this enabled them to keep in touch with Angel as she regularly came into the office to volunteer on administrative tasks, assist on the Premier League Enterprise Academy and assist on football coaching sessions.
Angel’s behaviour issues from her younger years had become a thing of the past and her thoughts were very much targeted at an opportunity to complete the FA level 1 course that she had missed earlier in the year.
“When I started at Palace I was a little girl but through all of these amazing experiences I have developed into a women. So many times I realised the Foundation were there for me because they didn’t give up and I am owe so much to them.
“I’ve always been a very confident individual but needed to learn how to work well within a working environment, with other people. Working as a volunteer has made me much more aware of my strengths and challenges, for example, I now understand the different ways to communicate amongst my peers on a social level and amongst the staff on a professional level.”
Angel attended the BPL Works Celebration Ceremony and continued to turn things around by forging ahead with many volunteering opportunities across our programmes. As a result of volunteering on the ASPIRE II Employability programme in April 2016, Angel was given the opportunity to volunteer for two weeks at RDC Espanyol in Barcelona
This is a great example of how the Palace for Life Foundation work with the local community as they run 11 core programmes in and around south London, focusing on three key areas:
- Physical and mental health – teaching children the importance of eating well and taking part in sport, promoting team work and essential life skills
- Early intervention – mentoring the disadvantaged, particularly those at most risk of becoming caught up in drugs or crime
- Fit for work – 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.”