Archives for January 2016

Adam Williams’ Story – You can Achieve!

Adam Williams is a 14 year old youngster from South Croydon living with Autism and as a result has had past struggles with controlling his anger and emotions.


Adam is a participant on the Crystal Palace FC Foundation’s Learning Difficulty football programme and has been with us since September 2014. He attends Bensham Manor School; a special secondary school catering for students aged 11-18 in Thornton Heath.

Before he started coming to our coaching sessions, which are run in partnership with the Croydon Sustainable Communities Team, Adam did not participate in much sport and had little interest in football.

His ongoing challenges trying to control his anger and emotions often led to confrontations at school and at home.

Adam told us a little more about how his Autism affects him and coming to the weekly football sessions have helped him:

“I like coming, it’s really good, I get upset with losing and this helps me not get upset even if I lose. I want to be both a good winner and a good loser. My friends are here and my mum likes me to come here. I mostly like to get on with all the boys here and I like most of the coaches. I have learnt that if I am nice to other players then they will be nice to me.”

Adam has really improved his footballing ability and is now part of the School football team setup, which included representing CPFC in a London FA Futsal tournament at the Copperbox in the Olympic Park.

When asked what advice he would give to other young people who were thinking of attending one of the Foundation’s sessions Adam said:

“If anyone has anger or emotions that need to be controlled I am pretty sure that Crystal Palace Football Club is the right place for them.”

Paul Funnel, Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Lead Officer for the Croydon Local Authority’s Early Intervention and Support Service, gives us his insight into Adam’s journey and the key role CPFC Foundation have played in this:

“Adam’s progress is a good result of continued partnership work between Croydon’s Sustainable Communities team, The CPFC Foundation and Croydon’s Disability youth project. I have seen a change in Adam’s confidence and a massive improvement in the amount of physical activity he does on a regular basis. This has also helped him to better understand teamwork and working with others.”

The Crystal Palace Foundation is constantly reaching out to vulnerable people of all ages that need a helping hand to find people of similar background.

We give these people a way of expressing themselves in an environment they feel comfortable in and a chance to engage with people who might have similar experiences to them.

Robin Barwick, Assistant Head/Head of Key Stage 4 at Bensham Manor School, offers us his insight:

“Since Adam has been taking part in sessions with CPFC Foundation there have been clear benefits socially, physically and in his specific football ability. Adam has matured into a team player who supports others, especially those less able than he is.

He has also learned to accept that satisfaction should come from how well you have played rather than simply whether you have won or lost. His understanding of the game has improved and he is prepared to play in different positions to meet the needs of his team.

In other lessons and in break times at school Adam is more settled and calm. This may be because he seems less anxious and more confident. His developing maturity derived from his success in sport is valuable at this stage in his school career where Adam is preparing for exams, work experience and eventually, transition to College.”

Importantly, these programmes are a way to give participants an enjoyable and happy experience, meet new people, learn new skills and play some football along the way.

This project, fronted by Michael Harrington, Foundation Disability Officer, has given Adam a new lease of life and a big step into an accommodating community.

If you know of anyone who shares a similar story to Adam, or are interested in being involved in one of our sessions, please get in touch with Michael Harrington at the Foundation:

Volunteers move closer to the world of work

The Crystal Palace FC Foundation re-launched its ‘Community Eagles’ volunteer programme in the September of 2015, aimed at boosting the employment prospects of local young people aged 16-24.


The Foundation are based at Selhurst Park and are well aware of the obstructions and difficulties facing unemployed young people in the surrounding area. The newly designed programme attempts to address the divide between young people and the job market and provides a unique way of gaining the developmental skills needed to enter the world of work with confidence.

The volunteer’s programme has given young participants the chance to experience work within the Crystal Palace setup and has offered volunteering hours within the Foundation, Club and wider community.

Since its revival under new Youth Solutions Officer, John Patrick, the programme has offered education and training in personal development, enhancing a work-related skill set and reaching career goals. Volunteers have had access to accredited training courses, gained valuable work experience within a professional setting and volunteered on project’s that have allowed participants to gain part-time paid work.

The programme is now recruiting young people for its next volunteers programme and will be hosting a recruitment day on Thursday 11th February 2016 at Selhurst Park, from 5.30-7pm in the Glaziers Lounge.

If you would like information on the Volunteers Programme, please contact: John Patrick on 07808 322 956 or

Crystal Palace trio visit The Children’s Trust



Crystal Palace FC first teamers – Bakary Sako, Chung Yong-Lee and Julian Speroni – put Premier League action to one side on Wednesday as they connected with young fans in a visit to The Children’s Trust in Tadworth, Surrey.

The trip was organised by the Crystal Palace FC Foundation and the team were delighted to help raise the spirits of some of the young children within the rehabilitation centre.

First team coach and long-time supporter of The Children’s Trust, John Salako, accompanied the players on the visit and joined in as they signed autographs and posed for photos with the youngsters. John also presented The Trust with some Crystal Palace FC memorabilia to mark the occasion, as the players gave out Eagles teddies and bags.


Visits from special guests have proved a fantastic way of giving the children the boost they need to get better and one particular example of that was 11-year-old Mikey.

Mikey, who is at The Children’s Trust for intensive rehabilitation following a brain tumour, got to spend some one on one time with the Crystal Palace cohort. His goal is to relearn how to talk and walk again. Mikey’s mum, Donna, was with him when he first met Palace forward,  Bakary Sako:

“Mikey has had a really tough few years. He’s had brain surgery three times and lots of chemo. We have been at The Children’s Trust for six months now and Mikey has worked really hard at his rehabilitation. Mikey loves football and he was really excited about meeting the Palace players. He was determined to show them what he has been practising – he stood up, walked and even kicked a football. I was so proud. Their visit has been the perfect thing to keep him motivated.”

Julian Speroni commented on the impact that these visits can have on young patients: “Hopefully we have put a smile on the faces of some of these children. These youngsters are inspiring people, with great bravery and fight in them and it’s especially important that they have a charity like The Children’s Trust to aid their recovery.”

Every year over 40,000 children in the UK are left with a brain injury as a result of an accident or illness. The Children’s Trust offers the largest residential brain injury rehabilitation unit in the country.

The Foundation hope to revisit the Trust over the summer to catch up with the progress of the children.


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New Para Football Team begin training

The Crystal Palace FC Foundation and Orpington FC’s new PARA FOOTBALL team had their first training session at the Darrick Wood Sports Centre on Friday 15th Jan.

This session is a great addition to our community scheme and will add another team to the Crystal Palace roster.

Foundation coaches put the young participants through their paces during dribbling and shooting drills, with a chance to showcase skills, and the session was finished with a 6v6 friendly match.

These sessions run weekly and are FREE for all participants. We are looking for LD players that are local to the area to join in this fun new opportunity.

The team is open to player’s aged 12-16years and welcomes both males and females.

Players will receive free weekly coaching, delivered by specifically trained and experienced coaches. The team will also play in regular fixtures with the opportunity to exercise new skills in a friendly match-like situation.

When: Sessions will run every Friday from 5.30pm-6.30pm

Venue: Darrick Wood Sports Centre, outdoor 3G pitch, Lovibonds Avenue, Orpington, Kent, BR6 8ER

For players with learning difficulties and additional needs.

For more information, please contact:
Richard Kettle: or 07710643387
Michael Harrington:

Kicks play Foot Golf

In December 2015 some of the participants from the Foundation’s Shrublands Kicks venue in Croydon were treated to a trip to Foot Golf to show off some of the skills learnt in weekly sessions.

The trip was to credit Matthew Pitchford, who has displayed great commitment and a positive change in attitude during his time at Kicks. After a rocky start during his initial few sessions, Matt began to focus and engage in the constructive side of football. As reward for his hard work, Matt has cemented a place in the Kicks Advanced squad and also gained his FA Level one badge to become a qualified football coach.

Matt is hoping to gain some volunteering hours with the Foundation and progress to become a mentor to young people in his own right.

The Foot Golf game allowed some of the more regular attendees at our Kicks sessions the chance to interact in an environment outside of their normal session. Played in a competitive but friendly spirit, the participants challenged the coaches to a game and were eager to see who would finish on top.

After 18 holes, some nifty footwork and just a single hole in one, the coaches proved too strong a match for the participants and narrowly beat the youngsters.

Reflecting on the experience, Matt commented: “I can finally say I’m proud as I’ve been recognised for my effort. It hasn’t been easy, but to be able to do something like this and help others have a good day is a great feeling.”

For more information and the community sessions run in the Croydon area, please contact:

2016 Bike Challenge


The Garmin Big Bike Ride in aid of The Saints Foundation sets off from St.Mary's stadium, Southampton, 8th May 2015

Crystal Palace FC and the Saints (Southampton FC) Foundation are encouraging the cycling enthusiasts of South London to do the 83-mile journey from Selhurst Park to St Mary’s Stadium by bike to watch the final Premier League fixture of the season and raise some money for the Croydon Mayor’s charity.

This is a fantastic way to give 2016 that early health kick, meet and train with local fans, raise some money for causes in the local area and most importantly get the chance to watch the mighty Eagles live!


Crystal Palace FC will play their last game of the season away to Southampton at St Mary’s on May 15th, with the hope of repeating the same winning result that was recorded in the home fixture back in December of 2015. Star signing, Yohan Cabaye, was the hero that day, recording his fifth goal of the season in the only goal of the game. But the CPFC Foundation would like to encourage a new batch of heroes.

The Big Bike Challenge will take place on the 14th and 15th May 2016, with the aim of raising funds for the Croydon Mayor’s charity. The team of cyclists will ride from Selhurst Park to St Mary’s stadium on the morning of the fixture and end the day by watching the two teams compete in the final day of 2015/16 Premier League fixtures.

The two day event will see riders enjoy an exclusive training session at the Herne Hill Velodrome in south London on the afternoon of Saturday 14th, followed by covering the 83 mile voyage to Southampton on the 15th, arriving in time to see the Eagles play.


Dave Richardson, who has previously participated in the Big Bike Challenge commented: “Having completed all of the Saints Foundation Big Bike Challenges I can only urge people to get involved.

The event is getting bigger year on year and the people at the Foundation really look after everyone. It’s a fantastic way to get involved with the Foundation and your football club and your efforts will be genuinely recognised and acknowledged. The team spirit and camaraderie is second to none and it’s something you just have to do!”

We will be holding an information night at Selhurst Park (date TBC), where you can learn more about the route, training schedules, fundraising support and the causes that your money will support.

If you would like more information or would like to register for the Challenge please contact

February half-term Football

Football sessions are back with a bang for 2016 with courses being run in Croydon, Bromley, Sutton and Tandridge during February half-term.


All courses welcome male and female players, from beginners to the next set of academy starlets. Sessions are broken down to make them accessible for all types of players with generous player to coach ratios.

Due to popular demand, we are once again putting on goalkeeper specific courses at Kent County Cricket Club and Caterham School, details of which can be found below.

Sessions run from 10am-3pm daily during the Feb school holiday period and begin Monday 15th February. Courses fill up fast so book quickly to avoid disappointment.

Contact: or 020 8768 6047 for more information and to book a course

Please note: online booking is currently unavailable, we are still taking bookings direct through the CPFC Foundation office. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and are working to get online booking available as soon as possible.



Downham Leisure Centre 7-9 Moorside Road, Bromley, BR1 5EP
Monday 15th Feb: Trial Day – £12 a day
Tuesday 16th Feb-Friday 19th Feb: 4 Day Course – £12 a day or £43 for 4 days

Bishops Justus, Magpie Hall Lane, Bromley, BR2 8HZ
Monday 15th Feb-Friday 19th Feb: 5 Day Course – £15 a day or £70 a week

Kent County Cricket Club, Worsley Bridge Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 1RL
Monday 15th Feb-Friday 19th Feb: 5 Day Course – £15 a day or £70 a week
2 day Goalkeeping Course – Monday 15th Feb – Tuesday 16th Feb £15.00 a day


Croydon High, Old Farleigh Road, Croydon, CR2 8YB
Monday 15th Feb-Friday 19th Feb: 5 Day Course – £14 a day or £65 a week

South Norwood Rec, 194 Selhurst Road (youth centre), South Norwood, SE25 5XX
Monday 15th Feb-Friday 19th Feb: 5 Day Course – £12 a day or £55 a week


Carshalton Boys School, Muschamp Road, Carshalton, SM5 2SE
Monday 15th Feb-Friday 19th Feb: 5 Day Course – £12 a day or £55 a week

(except De Stafford 6-10yrs)

The Hawthorns School, Pendell Court, Bletchingley, RH1 4QJ
Monday 15th Feb-Friday 19th Feb: 5 Day Course – £15 a day or £70 a week

De Stafford Sport, Burntwood Lane, Caterham, CR3 5YX (Book direct: 01883 334 355)
Monday 15th Feb-Tuesday 16th Feb: 2 Day Course – £17 a day – non members or £15 a day members

Caterham School, Harestone Valley Rd, Caterham, CR3 6YA
Wednesday 17th Feb-Friday 19th Feb: 3 Day Course – £15 a day
2 day Goalkeeping Course – Thursday 17th Feb – Friday 18th Feb £15.00 a day


NEW: Para Football Team

The Crystal Palace FC Foundation and Orpington FC have teamed up to create a new PARA FOOTBALL team.


The session will be FREE for all participants and we are looking for LD players that are local to the area to join in this fun new opportunity.

The team is open to player’s aged 12-16years and welcomes both males and females.

Players will receive free weekly coaching, delivered by specifically trained and experienced coaches. The team will also play in regular fixtures with the opportunity to exercise new skills in a friendly match-like situation.

When: Every Friday from 5.30pm-6.30pm. Sessions will begin FRIDAY 15TH JANURARY 2016.

Venue: Darrick Wood Sports Centre, outdoor 3G pitch, Lovibonds Avenue, Orpington, Kent, BR6 8ER

For players with learning difficulties and additional needs.

For more information, please contact:
Richard Kettle: or 07710643387
Michael Harrington:

Croydon Crimbo Tournament

As togetherness is traditional over the Christmas period, participants from two of our community development programmes (Soccer 5’s and Kicks) came together in December to play the first tournament of the new funding year, held at Canterbury Road Rec.


The tournament was held in great spirit and welcomed 10 teams to the venue where local hero, Wilfried Zaha, used to kick a ball about as a youngster.

Half the teams came from various Soccer 5’s sessions – Croydon Grove, Regina Road and Wilford Road Rec – which added to the competitive nature of the local rival teams.

In total the tournament boasted 75 young people from across the borough of Croydon and was awash with skills and tricks reminiscent of Zaha himself – the Palace winger has scored 3 goals for the Eagles first team this season.

Merging the two sets of participants gave the tournament that extra edge of competitiveness and also allowed the young people to interact with likeminded others from different projects. Many of the young people found a friendly face on rival teams which made the winning of ‘bragging rights’ all the more important.

Prior to the tournament kick-off, the young people took part in an educational workshop on knife crime and peoples experiences with knife related violence.

A local PCSO for the London Met, who works on our Kicks programme, led the workshop supported by CPFC Foundation staff and were both encouraged by the discussion points, responses and issues raised by the young people.

The reward for the tournament winners was the real incentive. Both winners of each tournament age category (u14s and u16s) were rewarded with the chance to play against the Potters Foundation up in Stoke a few weeks later, followed by tickets to the afternoon’s Premier League fixture at the Britannia Stadium: Stoke City FC vs Crystal Palace FC.

The mighty red and blues claimed the bragging rights for that fixture, with Palace nicking an 88th minute winner courtesy of Chung-Yong Lee’s first goal for the club, ending the game 2-1 in favour of the Eagles.

For more details on how you can join in on our Kicks or Soccer 5’s sessions, please contact: