Palace players and young people take part in 25,000 celebration
Footballers from Crystal Palace’s past and present came together at the club on Wednesday 18th November, to celebrate the fact that, with the ongoing support of the Professional Footballers' Association and Premier League, 25,000 young people have now been helped through Prince’s Trust Football Initiative.
Current first team player, Fraizer Campbell, teamed up with former player and Crystal Palace FC first team coach John Salako to be questioned by youngsters who have benefitted from The Prince’s Trust football related programmes. The sports personalities were joined by Emmanuel Nwanze, 21, who now works as a coach at Crystal Palace FC Foundation, after taking part in The Prince’s Trust Get Started with Football programme and Soye Briggs, Community Development Director at the Crystal Palace FC Foundation.
The panel spoke to an audience of young people, on the theme of ‘what football has taught me’. They gave their own advice and opinions to the young people who are working towards employment, education or training by engaging with Trust courses.
Prince’s Trust ambassador, Fraizer Campbell, offered advice, which he hopes will inspire the young people. He said: “There have been many tough points throughout my development as a footballer and there is a certain element of ‘unknown’ when you pursue a career in sport. My experiences have taught me that football is a great unifier, but is also a great way to learn the skills used in day to day life. I want to give inspiration to these youngsters, who may have grown up in difficult circumstances, to meet any challenge with courage and determination. The Crystal Palace FC Foundation do fantastic work in our surrounding community and partnered with The Prince’s Trust, provide a great support network for youngsters to realise their potential through sport.”
"This event is a chance for young people to meet players but it’s something that inspires both parties."
Gordon Taylor OBE, PFA Chief Executive.
Donald Forde, Crystal Palace FC Foundation, said: “The Crystal Palace FC Foundation are proud to deliver both Prince’s Trust Get Started with Football and Fairbridge follow-on programmes, so it’s great to see young people being inspired by sport to create a better future for themselves, and to celebrate that here at Selhurst Park with our Palace stars, old and new!”
Gordon Taylor OBE, Chief Executive of the PFA, said: “This event is a chance for young people to meet players but it’s something that inspires both parties. For the young people it’s a chance to find out how their heroes coped with difficulties, and came through. And for the players, it’s a chance to find out more about the challenges facing today’s youngsters and how football can help them overcome obstacles.”
Richard Scudamore, Premier League Chief Executive: “The Premier League and The Prince’s Trust have championed the power of sport to change lives over the past 18 years. It’s amazing to think that, through our Football Initiative, 25,000 young people have discovered how sport can boost confidence, provide motivation and deliver the essential team-working skills needed in the world of work.”
Emmanuel Nwanze spoke passionately about how The Trust had helped to turn his life around, saying: “A lot of my friends were in and out of prison but I thought I was better than that. I had to make that choice to be better. I said to myself I have to go out there achieve what I want. Playing football has given me discipline, such as eating the right foods and training hard. There's always a way out, you just need to be positive. I didn't have people pushing me when I was younger so I feel blessed that I can now be a role model for other young people and help give them the push they need through the Football Initiative."
The Prince’s Trust works with over 40 Premier League and Football League Clubs helping young people develop their confidence, motivation and team working skills. It also helps them gain new qualifications that have helped three in four young people in jobs, education or training. Young people are also inspired by the support of over 170 professional footballers who offer motivation and encouragement by meeting with many of the young people who take part in programmes delivered by their clubs.
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The young people the Prince’s Trust supports face tremendous barriers including long-term unemployment, few or no qualifications and low self-confidence.