Archives for April 2015

Palace Eagles Triple

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By Tim Matthias

The Croydon Eagles Mental Health Team have won their third major trophy of the footballing season as they clinched the title at the Lewes FC Football Therapy Cup 5 a-side tournament, run by the National Mental Health Charity, Together.

The tournament was fiercely contested with 16 teams from respective football clubs across the country taking part in the annual competition.

Teams arrived representing Everton, Charlton, QPR, Blackburn, Brighton as well as the host team Lewes Community FC, who once again put on a great day.

The structure of the day began with 4 groups of 4 with the top 2 going through to the next phase. The Palace boys did extremely well to finish second in what was deemed the ‘group of death’, including tournament favorites and European Champions Everton, plus last year’s finalists Victory Hants.

Having confidently qualified for the second group stage, the Palace lads valiantly topped the second qualifying group whilst remaining unbeaten and soared on to the final where they would meet the gallant Everton team.

Palace had narrowly lost to Everton in the preliminary rounds, giving the Merseyside opposition a slender advantage. As European Champions Everton were rightfully billed as the pre-tournament favorites and dubbed one of the best teams in the country.

The Palace team entered the game full of spirit, undoubtedly upping their game, and gave one of their most comprehensive team performances to date.

Palace stole the lead with a crisp strike from Tony Thompson and managed to hold strong until the final whistle, giving an end result of 1-0 to the mighty red and blues.

Certainly, the Palace Eagles finest achievement yet. Under the guise of new captain, James Creegan, the lads had a great togetherness and team spirit about them and were a credit to the name and badge.

A fine performance all round, congratulations to all the squad.

The Crystal Palace FC Foundation deliver weekly football sessions in partnership with MIND Croydon, if you would like to receive more information on getting involved please contact: admin@palaceforlife.org

Croydon Eagles soaring at Equality, Diversity and Inclusion accreditation launch

by Tim Matthias

The ‘Croydon Eagles’ football team were set up as part of the partnership work between Mind Croydon the Crystal Palace FC Foundation – the charity of Premier League side Crystal Palace FC.

As the official Crystal Palace FC Foundation adult mental health football team, they exist for men and women who have experienced mental health issues and helping them to gain the benefits, both physically and socially, of football and other physical activities.

The team run weekly football training and physical activity sessions in the Crystal Palace FC Academy Dome at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre complex, activities which are crucial in helping people who have had mental health issues keep fit, feel a part of a team and squad whilst providing a social environment with likeminded people – they also play in the Surrey Community League, a league run by the Surrey FA and local charities working within the mental health community.

Tim Matthias, a player for the Croydon Eagles, is also an aspiring journalist and has recorded the rise of the Croydon Eagles from their beginnings in 2010.

Last month Tim was both participant and journalist at the launch of the Jason Roberts Foundation ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’ Open College Network accreditation launch at City Hall London and tells us in his own words about the day.

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I recently attended the launch of the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) accreditation entitled ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’.

The course aims to give training to volunteers, youth leaders, community groups and young people across the UK and beyond.

The course hopes to challenge inequalities in football and across society as a whole by going into communities and developing role models within them.

Jason Roberts is a recently retired Premier League footballer and now works as a television pundit but his number one goal now is to contribute towards the challenge of achieving equality as well as giving opportunities to everyone, no matter what their background, starting with football, which can be used as a tool for change. This is why he set up the Jason Roberts Foundation charity in 2007.

This was my first event representing the CPFC Foundation so I had a few nerves but I was taken under the wing of Andrew McSteen, former Crystal Palace FC Communications Officer, who now helps charities including Crystal Palace FC Foundation, Jason Roberts Foundation and Active Communities Network – partners of the JRF – with their communications.

Andrew looked after me and showed me the ropes introducing me to those at the launch and suggesting questions to ask.

In his speech Jason Roberts spoke passionately and with good humour about his Foundation and its aims, whilst JRF trustee Jo Tongue spoke about her work with ‘Women in Football’ a network of professional women working in and around the football industry who support and champion their peers and which aims to improve women’s representation at all levels of the game.

Jo spoke about the challenges women face in football with regards to sexism from within football as well as from the outside the game – her drive and passion was clear to see in her speech.

Jo is an Executive Producer and Talent Manager at Somethin’ Else Productions, overseeing programmes such as BBC Radio 5 ‘606’and looks after high profile sports people and their broadcasting careers , so is in a perfect position as an influential woman in football to talk about the inequalities women can face in the game.

There were also speeches by London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton and Councillor in the London Borough of Croydon for the Kenley Ward, Steve O’Connell, and the Crystal Palace Foundation CEO Donald Forde. They both spoke about the Foundation and its work in Croydon and Sutton.

Following the speeches I managed to interview Jason Roberts himself, as well as Jo Tongue and Steve O’Connell. I told them that this was a first for me and they really put me at ease.

Jason seemed like a decent chap and spoke with real passion about his Foundation and listened with real interest to what I had to say. I asked Jason how he thought the launch had gone and he told me that he was really pleased with the day.

He said he was really encouraged by the enthusiasm of those present and that he “hoped that the numerous coaches and community leaders would take the accreditation on and hopefully make a real difference to the lives of the young people that the project aims to help.”

I also asked him if he feels he has a responsibility as a professional footballer and media personality, to push fairness and equality. He told me that he felt he had “a personal responsibility which comes from the chances I’ve had through football.” He also said that “everyone has a duty to promote equality, but it did come from a very personal perspective.”

He said that his position gave him “a platform to push the Foundation on and hopefully it can change lives and make for a fairer and more equal society.”

I finished by asking Jason if he had much awareness of mental health issues inside football through players he had known and he told me how difficult it can be for some players when their careers come to an end.

We also discussed young people and mental health and how they need to be supported to prevent them from ‘falling through the cracks’ and how football and others sports can really help with this.

I also briefly spoke with Jo Tongue. In my interview with Jo she told me she was present to talk about her campaigns to secure equality for women within football and discussed how, despite constant obstacles, she was determined to help rid football of some of its outdated attitudes towards women on and off the pitch.

I asked Jo if she thought enough was currently being done to promote opportunities for those who may feel excluded from mainstream society. Jo told me that she thought things were happening but wasn’t convinced that what was being done was always making an impact and that “education was key for those who are in a position to influence decisions that can help change the lives of anyone who might feel excluded from sports, hopefully changing society in turn.”

Steve O’Connell spoke to me about the good efforts of the Jason Roberts Foundation and the CPFC Foundation around Croydon and its surrounds.

The Crystal Palace FC Foundation, alongside the Jason Roberts Foundation, have been working to promote opportunities for those in Croydon and the surrounding areas, giving those who may not always have the opportunity to play football.

I personally have benefited from CPFC Foundation, as I have had my own experiences with mental health issues.

I play for Croydon Eagles. We are a very successful project that gives those who have experienced mental health issues the chance to play football. With the help of Crystal Palace FC Foundation Disability Officer Michael Harrington and Mind in Croydon the project has grown and grown.

At the launch, Michael told me he believed his sessions really benefited those who participated both through the sport and social aspects. He said you can see the confidence of those taking part growing all the time, and that he felt football can really make a difference to their lives.

He also told me that seeing people confidence grow all the time was very rewarding.

Michael’s coaching and people skills have shone through and our team has just completed the Surrey Community League season, winning the league and cup double.

I think this tells its own story of how successful the Foundation has been.

From my own perspective, I have gone from having very little self-belief to having the confidence to write this. Football has played a huge part in this.

Jason and Jo are really inspiring people who are both trying to make a real difference to people’s lives and both made interviewing them fairly easy due to their warm and open personalities.

The whole day was a great success and exciting experience for me, despite my nerves (and Jo, if you’re reading this I’ve still got your rather natty pen).

Thanks to everyone associated with the Jason Roberts Foundation and CPFC Foundation.

For further details about Croydon Eagles or the Crystal Palace FC Foundation please contact Michael Harrington on 020 8768 6052 or admin@palaceforlife.org

The Eagles Fitter Fans continuation programme

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The Eagles Fitter Fans continuation programme recently held a weight loss competition, the participants who wanted to compete had 10 weeks to revisit and try new lifestyle changes as a part of their everyday life. It was ran by the fitter fans themselves and 9 people took part in the competition. The winner of our competition was Richard Kenyon who lost a fantastic 11% of his body weight and went from 20 stone to 17.5!

Richard said of the fitter fans programme, ” I have been with fitter fans over a year now. I love the weekly matches and feel a lot better about myself. I have lost weight and made friends while playing footy, can’t recommend it highly enough”

The fitter fans are also planning a second tour off the back of the successful tour of Holland last year, the fitter fans will be taking on teams in France & Belgium this coming June. The Foundation are very proud of the group and what they have been able to achieve since the start of this programme. We would like to wish them the very best of luck on the tour this year and with the future of the programme.

For more information on the fitter fans programme please contact admin@palaceforlife.org

Soccer 5’s Tournament/Young Playmaker Award

On Saturday 4th April 2015 we held our 2nd Soccer 5’s tournament at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Instead of a workshop based exercise we wanted to give the young people an opportunity to take part and gain an accredited award, the Young Playmaker Award. The teams were Croydon Grove A and B, Regina Road A and B and Wilford Rec A and B.

The aim of the Young Playmaker Award is to help young people learn and develop new leadership skills. Providing inspiration and ideas for creating young people led games.

Teams were put into groups where they learnt leadership, communication and new creative skills by taking part in various activities under the guidance of assigned coaches.

Each group had their own area to work in plus a learner’s pack to complete, 1 football, 1 tennis ball, 2 hoops and 2 hurdles to help the groups come up with creative games and activities. The young people were commended for their enthusiasm and desire to learn as well as togetherness in completing a task.

After the award, the 6-team tournament took place. It mirrored the previous tournament – the group stages were short matches with the Regina Road B topping the group, on 11 points, Croydon Grove A on 9 points, Croydon Grove B joint with Regina Road A on 8 points but just edged themselves ahead on goal difference and Wilford Rec A and B teams joint on 3 points.

After the two semi-finals, where both Croydon Grove teams triumphed over both Regina Road teams, Croydon Grove B overcame their venues peers with a 2-1 win to secure their place as winners of the Soccer 5’s tournament! Their reward included the coveted Soccer 5’s trophy, medals plus surprise match day tickets to see Crystal Palace FC vs Manchester City FC at Selhurst Park, which ended 2-1 to the mighty Eagles!

Dhruvmil Visits Premier League HQ

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The successful candidate from last summer’s ‘Play For Palace’ initiative with Mumbai City FC, Dhruvmil Pandya, visited the Premier League offices in London on Monday to meet with the League’s Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore.

Richard gave him a tour of the headquarters and looking back on the initiative was delighted with the opportunity given by the club to the youngster.

“It was a very original idea, but most importantly it captured the imagination of all in Mumbai that attended the BPL event and was just fantastic to see the whole process that eventually led to Dhruvmil being the one chosen to come over to England,” Scudamore said.

“Having seen the competition he was up against out there he has done brilliantly to get selected to come over and be part of the club.

“The feedback I have had over the past week has reported that he has not only acquitted himself well as a footballer but is also a very intelligent young man. If football is his career then great but if it is not then he will have no problem getting into whatever line of profession he chooses to take.”

There is no doubting the global audience that is now attracted to the Premier League but Richard spoke of how impressed he has been at the work carried out by the club’s Foundation in their own community.

“There is no point being global unless you are firmly rooted locally and that is just what Crystal Palace is about,” he added. “As a club Crystal Palace can expand and attract supporters from overseas but also realise the importance of keeping our roots very local.

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The IPL success could one day mean a player from India taking his place in the Premier League but whatever the nationality, Richard is keen to stress that it is always going to be a tough league to be part of.

“It would take a lot for an Indian player to be involved in the Premier League as it does an English player to make it to the top in our league, but the way football has taken off out there I am sure that over the next five to seven years players will come through who be good enough to take their place in the Premier League.”

Palace’s support has become a massive talking point wherever supporters watch the boys in red and blue across the world and it is something that Richard is always impressed with when he takes his seat inside SE25.

“The atmosphere at Selhurst Park is just incredible and the supporters all around the stadium are so passionate about the game. I have been going to matches at the stadium for many years but I would say in the last ten years the noise levels have gone up even more and it is sure a great place to watch your football.

“Since Palace’s return to the Barclays Premier League the watching audiences around the world have been very aware of the importance the home support plays in south London.”

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Awards Night: Wednesday 13th May 2015

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The end of season Crystal Palace FC awards night for 2015 will take place at Fairfield Halls, Croydon on Wednesday 13th May 2015 between 7.00pm and 10.00pm.

This is the annual event that brings together all the award winners across the club on and off the pitch as we celebrate the events of our Premier League season.

The event, which is hosted by David Jensen, will include exclusive interviews with current players, the management team, ex-player’s and surprise guests as we celebrate the achievements of the season.

This is a great evening of entertainment with a chance to put your questions to the owners, relive the 2014/15 season through our video diary and of course vote for your CPFC Player of the Year.

Tickets are priced at £26.50 per person and are available for sale from the Fairfield Halls in Croydon.

To book please call the box office on 020 8688 9291 or CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets for this awards event.

Palace team triumph over local London rivals to reach the Premier League Enterprise Finals

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We are delighted to announce that the team representing Crystal Palace FC Foundation at this years Premier League Enterprise Challenge have fought their way through the heats to make the Enterprise finals, to be held at Westminster on April 27th.

Now in its sixth year, the PLEC is supported by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and has become an important milestone in the Premier Leagues communities Calendar. Over 8,000 young people have taken part in the challenge to date.

This years brief was set by the Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, and has allowed the team to work alongside CPFC Youth Solutions Officer, George Henry, to learn about different aspects of Palace as a Club including marketing, finance and customer service.

The group representing Palace are all from our home borough of Croydon and first came in to contact with the Foundation through our Croydon strand of the Premier League initiative, Kicks. This is especially rewarding for us, as the boys have progressed far beyond playing football on a weeknight and matured in to young boys with ambition, drive and desire to succeed.

It is these attributes that allowed the boys to flourish in this pressured environment and deliver a presentation that made them stand out among the strong competition. The Palace team beat local London rivals Arsenal, Chelsea and QPR to progress to the final stages and we firmly believe that this marks the beginning of a positive and encouraging future for the group.

The boys finished as runners up in the competition with Fulham and West Ham going through as automatic winners. But, having impressed the judges with their entrepreneurial flair and innovative ideas, the Palace team was selected as a wildcard to take up the coveted last spot at the Enterprise final.

George, who has mentored the group from the outset, has said that it has been great to watch the transformation of the boys who have utilised skills deployed on a football pitch – commitment, determination, teamwork and leadership – and used these as a springboard for new challenges. He also commented that he has been extremely proud to watch the boys mature and develop in to young adults with renewed aspirations for a successful future in the job market.

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