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Foundation launches innovative initiative to provide mentoring during lockdown

6 April 2020

Palace for Life Foundation has launched a new online gaming programme, Palace Pad Chat, as part of Premier League Kicks to help keep in touch with young people in south London during the coronavirus lockdown.

Palace Pad Chat is for anyone who loves gaming and wants to discuss life in isolation with a qualified mentor from Palace for Life Foundation, Crystal Palace's official charity.

Premier League Kicks uses the power of football to connect with young people in some of the most high-need areas of the UK. Typically activities involve free sport in the community, but with social distancing in place, the Foundation is aiming to run sessions in new, innovative ways - and Palace Pad Chat is part of this.

Anyone aged 12 to 25 will have the chance to join Palace Pad Chat for a game of FIFA, Fortnite or Apex Legends on Xbox One or PS4, providing the opportunity for a chat about any concerns they might have whilst gaming and having fun.

Consoles to help launch the programme have been provided by Croydon-based gaming retailer Go2Games.

Palace for Life Foundation Targeted Intervention Manager George Henry explained: “These are very uncertain and worrying times for young people who might not fully understand what is happening in the world. They are also likely to be bored and isolated without being able to see their friends or take part in any hobbies they might have.

“We’re hoping that by offering them the chance to take on our team through gaming, we can reach out to them using a channel that most of them will already be familiar with. We’re looking forward to engaging with young people we’ve worked with before, but also hopefully welcoming some new faces.

“We’re extremely grateful to Go2Games with the support in helping us to bring this programme to life with additional consoles for our mentors.”

Go2Games are working with the Foundation to gift gaming consoles to vulnerable young people and families who might be struggling to cope at home during the coronavirus crisis. Some of these consoles will be provided to Palace for Life mentors for use in Palace Pad Chat sessions.

The Foundation has identified individuals and groups who would benefit from a console, either to give parents and carers some respite time or to help isolated young people connect with friends and family.

One of those set to receive a console is 11-year-old Alfie from Croydon. His mother was delighted by the offer, saying: “I hope this will encourage Alfie to share and make more friends as he plays on the console. Sometimes his anxieties and angry moments can make other children feel a little unsure of him.”

All Palace Pad Chat sessions will be run privately and will only be accessible by Palace for Life mentors. Under-18s must seek written consent from an adult before signing up to take part.

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