Crystal Palace defender Martin Kelly shared his passion for the environment and sustainable living with local schoolchildren this week, when he joined Palace for Life Foundation for an eco-focused assembly and school tour with a difference.
The 29-year-old visited Rockmount Primary School in Crystal Palace and was shown around the 'Edible Playground', with pupils proudly showing off their vegetable garden and resident chickens.
Kelly, who drives an electric car and has recently started growing his own fruit and vegetables at home, told Palace TV: "It’s taken me right back to my childhood going back to school! I think it’s really important for the children to learn about these issues, they’re all so enthusiastic and it’s all credit to the teachers."
The school, which Jason Puncheon attended growing up, is championing sustainable living through a range of initiatives, including taking part in Sky Ocean Rescue workshops and projects run by Palace for Life Foundation on plastic pollution.
Primary School Programmes Manager at Palace for Life Foundation Sam Bacon said: "We have a coach based full-time at Rockmount Primary School and we’re really proud of the innovative work they’re doing in this area. It’s clear to see Martin’s passion for the environment and it was inspiring for the children to hear about the changes he’s making to his own lifestyle."
Kelly continued: "You understand when you’re older the importance of the things you do from a young age. Learning more about this, seeing the chickens, growing the vegetables, it gives children a sense of independence as well as teaching them about the bigger things like climate change, because it is going to affect them when they’re older."
While at the school, Kelly helped launch a competition for pupils, encouraging them to finish their lunch and reduce food waste, as well as bringing less single use plastic in their lunchboxes. The winners will be treated to a tour of Selhurst Park and receive a range of Crystal Palace prizes.
Children from the school’s eco-committee, made up of pupils from Years 5 and 6, ran the assembly and then gave Kelly a guided tour, sharing their tips for keeping chickens and explaining the importance of home-grown produce.
Speaking afterwards, one of the pupils said: "It was awesome to have Martin Kelly here, I really hope he liked our vegetable garden and our chickens!"
Find out more about Palace for Life's Premier League Primary Stars work by clicking here and check out how Martin got on below!