Archives for November 2015

Crystal Palace FC Foundation partner Premier Skills in India


The Crystal Palace FC Foundation have began delivery on the Premier League’s ambitious international programme, Premier Skills, and have sent our Sports Development Manager, Rob Perrett, to Tivandrum in India to ‘kick-off’ Phase 2 of training.

Premier Skills is the Premier League’s lead international development project, which provides development pathways for community coaches and referees in 15 countries across Africa and Asia (as well as further afield at locations in the Americas).

The Crystal Palace FC Foundation have accompanied the Premier League, alongside the British Council and Aston Villa FC, to India where delivery will be focused on coaching education and improving leadership skills designed to benefit the participants’ respective communities.

The week will be split in to educational based workshops and practical delivery, working alongside 40 local coaches from the area of Trivandrum, the capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Through Premier Skills, young people, including the most vulnerable in society, are given opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities through sport. The programme is designed to give participants the support to transfer these skills in to other areas of their life, helping with employability and raising self-esteem and confidence.

The project is now in its second phase, with newly trained Premier Skill’s staff providing a deeper level of training to the most promising coaches and learning materials to enhance local people’s English language skills.

Rob Perrett has also been tasked with teaching the locals about Crystal Palace FC and the way in which the Club and Foundation operate under the banner of community and sports development.

The Crystal Palace FC Foundation will be delivering a presentation to participants about the work we do in our local area with particular attention to player pathways and the routes our young people take to gain the correct accreditation and training to become community coaches.

Gary Mulcahey, Sports Development Director, said: “This initiative is a fantastic platform for the Crystal Palace FC Foundation to draw on the Premier League’s global appeal and expertise in delivering community based programmes. We have a great track record of delivering coach education over seas and relish the opportunity to visit India for the second time in as many years.

We are passionate about the development of grassroots football, in all aspects of the game; including playing, coaching and refereeing. These initiatives are a great way to upskill local coaches and train them to become mentors for other young coaches and community leaders. Crystal Palace FC now has global recognition and we are delighted to be promoting the Palace badge and flying the Eagles flag in India.”

For more information about the Crystal Palace FC Foundation please email or contact 020 8768 6047

Foundation wins 2015 Best Community Scheme


The Crystal Palace FC Foundation were the proud recipient of the Best Community Scheme award, Premier League Division, at the annual Football Business awards ceremony on Thursday (5th Nov), 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 a few 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.

This programme is 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.

One such benefactor of this programme is Crystal Palace FC Foundation Development Administrator, Zee Williams, who began her journey with the Foundation as a programme participant after a stint in prison. Zee gained her FA Level One badge whilst receiving training and mentoring through the 12-week intensive course and now operates as a full time coach and admin assistant at the Foundation.

Zee Williams, Development Administrator, Crystal Palace FC Foundation, said: “It is great to have journeyed ‘full circle’ with the Foundation. I began as a participant, low on confidence and self-esteem, and a job was bottom of my priority list.

I now deliver on behalf of the Crystal Palace FC Foundation as a FA accredited coach with my own sessions and content. The Aspire course was the turning point in my life and I thank the Foundation for having the vision to make a difference in young peoples lives.”

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.”


Fundraising Target Achieved!


The Foundation would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our Crowdfunder backers on behalf of the CPFCF Disability scheme of work in Croydon.

With the help of 27 pledges, including a generous contribution from Crystal Palace FC who topped up the bid to ensure we crossed the finishing line. The bid exceeded the £5,000 target we set ourselves back in September.

The funds will be going towards the continuation and growth of our Disability Programme, which caters for the local people of Croydon who live with profound Learning Disabilities. This work is conducted alongside the Croydon Sports Development Department at the Croydon Council and they too were delighted that this strand of our disability scheme could continue to grow.

The ethos of the Foundations disability scheme, headed by lead Disability Officer, Michael Harrington, is to offer sport to everyone in our local community. The Foundation believes that sport is a great unifier, a great way to express ones self and build confidence as well as a social tool to encourage interaction and communication.

Much of these attributes are fundamental components of our disability sessions, giving the opportunity for disabled participants to experience the unique social, physical and psychological benefits that sport can offer.

One of the founding principals of the Foundation is inclusivity and this is an especially important theme of our disability work. The idea is that any one can participate in a sport and we tailor certain sports to make them accessible for particular groups of individuals.

Thanks to all the backers of our Crowdfunder bid we are able to make that a reality in our home borough of Croydon to ensure that adults with Learning Disabilities have access to weekly football sessions under the guidance of our expert coaches.

The Foundation also runs disability projects further afield of Croydon as we work toward creating opportunities for anybody who has an interest in sport.

A great example is our Powerchair Football project, which allows players in a wheelchair to play a modified version of football in electronically controlled wheelchairs. This scheme has proved extremely popular and has even received a few special guests along the way, most notably Crystal Palace FC first teamer Fraizer Campbell, who visited the project earlier this year.

Our resident Men’s Mental Health football team, the Croydon Eagles, are another success story of the Foundation’s disability schedule. The Croydon Eagles come together every Wednesday for their weekly training session in the CPFC Academy dome and have created a fantastic team ethic and bond among the group.

The Croydon Eagles are one of the most successful teams under the Foundation’s badge, boosting a treble winning record over the past year and continue to grow from strength to strength.

The money pledged through our fundraising site will serve to continue and expand our Learning Disabilities football in Croydon. The future hope is that we can fundraise enough to allow for the start of new schemes as we work to develop and expand our disability programme by moving in to other London boroughs and offering sport to anyone with an interest in it.

Michael Harrington, Disability Lead Officer, said: “I am delighted at the overwhelming response to our fundraising bid. A special mention must be given to the generosity of Crystal Palace FC who made a large contribution to help us reach our target.

The money is invaluable to the sustainability of our disability programme, which relies solely on charitable donations and small pots of commissioned work. The participants who benefit from this funding will be delighted that their sessions can resume and the Foundation will continue to strive for a sporting schedule that is representative of all of our diverse communities.”

Foundation announce new over 55s Club, The ‘Silver Eagles’


The Foundation are delighted to be able to reintroduce our bespoke ‘Extra-Time’ Club, which offers organised activity to over 55s in our local area, thanks to funding from Sport England.

A fifth of the population in England is over 60 and this group make up the single largest group of patients using the NHS service. Inactivity has been highlighted as a primary cause of this and a growing body of evidence suggests that health conditions associated with a lack of exercise are preventable if addressed early enough.

The Foundation would like to reverse the trend where exercise drop off rate increases with age. Rebranded as ‘Silver Eagles’, the new look programme aims to engage over 55s in (free) structured weekly activity to improve physical well-being as well as activities to stimulate the mind and a forum to socialise, interact and share interests.

The physical aspects of the course will aim to provide participants with the ability to carry out daily tasks with greater ease by working on muscle strength, improving flexibility and general mobility, with the hope of reducing the risk of injury and enabling greater freedom.

Socially the programme will provide opportunities to interact beyond the course itself as well as include activities that promote interaction, such as dominoes and bingo. This social support is designed to improve confidence and encourage independence in daily life.

The programme itself will be delivered in Croydon (Selhurst Park) and Sutton (Sutton Life Centre) and will direct participants towards extra activity outside of the club, including walking football, ‘no-strings’ badminton and swimming.

The Foundation also has strong links with Age UK and will invite expert instructors to deliver specialist parts of the course, which include dance, yoga or even painting.

The course is a great way of improving fitness in a fun environment and a chance to explore the creative side of being active! We will embrace all interests in our activities and the aim is for participants to experience as many fun-filled activities as possible, whilst meeting new people in a sociable environment.

The Foundation is always exploring fun, interactive ways to get our local community active and is excited to begin delivery of our new Silver Eagles project.

Councilor Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, Croydon Council, said: “This is a great initiative from the Crystal Palace FC Foundation because keeping active is key to a long and healthy life – and if you can achieve that through enjoyable leisure and sports interests then all the better. There are plenty of over-65s who make use of our sports and leisure centers every day, and this looks like a great way of getting even more people to take up physical exercise so their daily lives become easier to manage.”

Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment & Neighbourhood Committee, Sutton Council, said: “Keeping active in older age isn’t just a way to keep your heart and body in shape, but it will keep your mind sharp and focused as well. Exercising as part of a group with other people can help keep you motivated and it’s also a fantastic chance to meet new people and build friendships.”

Donald Forde, Head of Crystal Palace FC Foundation, said:“We are delighted to be able to offer organised activity for the over 65s age bracket. We’re committed to creating opportunities for people of all ages to get involved in sport, not just young people.

If there are additional benefits for residents in terms of improving fitness levels and being able to socialise with like-minded people, then all the better. Initially, we’ll be looking to our own coaches to deliver but are keen to encourage our residents, who are interested in getting more involved, the opportunity to train and to deliver sessions in their own right.”

For more information please contact:

Eagles longest standing keeper coaches Foundation youngsters


The Crystal Palace FC Foundation have been honoured once again this week to host Crystal Palace first team goalkeeper, Julian Speroni, who has been coaching our budding goalies in a specially designed goalkeeping clinic.

Last season was a landmark occasion for the Eagles shot-stopper and Speroni has marked this by giving back his time to the young Palace fans who admire him.

Speroni visited our session at Kent County Cricket Ground in Beckenham, which is housed directly behind the CPFC training ground, and spent the afternoon working on goalkeeper specific drills with the group of young footballers.

The group of 44 youngsters were split in to three breakout areas, all of which focussed on a different aspect of goalkeeping. Speroni was on hand to give 1 to 1 advice to all the participants as he made his way around the groups and offered feedback on handling, kicking, positioning and decision making.


Julian also conducted a Q&A session with the children who got to ask him about his favourite memories in a Palace shirt, what is was like to play football in his home country of Argentina and who his hardest opponents have been.

The youngsters were also intrigued to know about Julian’s favourite game (selecting the 2013 play-off final) and his passion for other teams in addition to Crystal Palace FC (choosing his past affiliations with Bocca Juniors and Dundee Utd).

The Foundation were also delighted to host Sky Sports News, who made the trip down to South London to take a look at the Foundation’s holiday course and congratulate Speroni on his 10-year service to CPFC.

Speroni made his 347th league appearance between the posts for Palace against Arsenal FC in 2014, surpassing John Jackson’s record after a decade of service at Crystal Palace FC.
The piece was aired Friday 30th October 2015.


Julian Speroni, Crystal Palace FC, commented: “I am honoured and humbled by the support I get from fans and always enjoy coaching our younger generation of Palace faithfuls. I hope the children enjoyed the course and learnt something new about the demands of goalkeeping. The Foundation do great work in the community and I am sure we will team up again soon to run similar courses.”