Crystal Palace FC help young people in Mayo and Belfast


Crystal Palace FC, Ballina Town FC and Active Communities Network join together to help young people in Mayo And Belfast through sport.

  • Three organisations announce three-year partnership to provide positive activities and promote healthy lifestyles for young people
  • Young people of County Mayo and Belfast set to benefit with partnership commencing with youth participant programme from 16th-20th February
  • Includes young football coaches from Belfast undertaking week-long work placement with Crystal Palace FC Foundation at Ballina Town FC and in Belfast
  • Former Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Manchester City and Republic of Ireland player Eddie McGoldrick confirmed as ambassador for programme
  • Partnership continues work of Palace for Life Foundation and charity Active Communities Network in Ireland following visit of first team squad to Waterford last season
  • Crystal Palace FC Foundation have worked in partnership alongside Active Communities Network with young people in Belfast and in London

Ballina/London – Tuesday 10 February 2015: Young people of County Mayo and Belfast are set to benefit from Premier League-standard football coaching and sports programming for the next three years as sport for development charity Active Communities Network, Premier League side Crystal Palace FC and their Foundation and Irish football team Ballina Town FC kick off a new partnership with a week-long launch programme, starting on Monday 16th February.

All three likeminded organisations share a common belief of social inclusion through sport by providing pathways to participation through training and upskilling coaches, working with young people of all abilities and developing and supporting coaches to grow the game.

The first half of the week will see the programme, which includes small-sided games and training, delivered at Belleek Park, the home of Ballina Town FC.

Pupils from two local schools – Culleens National School and Scoil Phadraig National School – will be put through their paces by elite coaches from the Palace for Life Foundation including three young coaches from Active Communities Network Belfast who are undertaking a week-long placement and mentoring programme with the Premier League club.

The second half of the week will see the Belfast coaches continuing their development with the Palace for Life Foundation in Belfast as they work with local community groups.

Former Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Manchester City and Republic of Ireland player Eddie McGoldrick, now U12 Assistant Coach at Crystal Palace FC, is the official ambassador for the programme which will also see the Crystal Palace FC Foundation coaches, including Gary Mulcahey (Director – Community Sports Development) attend the Ballina Town FC Awards Night.

The week marks the beginning of the long-term partnership that will also see youth tournaments and skill exchanges between partners in the UK and Ireland through Active Communities Network – a charity based in Belfast, London, Manchester and South Africa – alongside the Palace for Life Foundation and Ballina Town FC.

The roots of the partnership started in August 2013 when Active Communities Network and the Palace for Life Foundation used the occasion of the pre-season friendly match featuring Crystal Palace FC against League of Ireland side Waterford United FC to run football coach education sessions and delivery in tandem with two separate groups of 14-17 year old boys and girls visiting the home of Crystal Palace – Selhurst Park – to watch Premier League games with both groups taking part in VIP tours of the ground and presented on the pitch at half-time.

Gary Stannett, CEO, Active Communities Network said: “This programme brings together like-minded organisations working in the community from England, Northern Ireland and Ireland to share experiences and deliver quality activities for young people.

“Active Communities Network has long been promoting ties between England and Northern Ireland using sport for development, and it is great to be able to expand those partnerships into Mayo.”

David Groves, Chair of Trustees, Crystal Palace FC Foundation said: “The Palace for Life Foundation recognise that Crystal Palace FC has a following far beyond its origins in south London with many fans based in Ireland and Northern Ireland and we want to embrace this diversity of support to facilitate opportunities for young people and grassroots clubs

“This new programme in Ballina and Belfast is part of a long-term commitment to these areas and forms part of our constant striving towards creating strong partnerships that transcend our national presence and widen opportunities throughout the world.

“As a deep-rooted community club we welcome the opportunity to give young people anywhere a chance to experience the ‘Palace Way’ and share this message with the worldwide community.”

Colm Hendry, Chairman, Ballina Town FC said: “Ballina Town FC prides itself on having deep roots in the community and as part of this we seek to engage actively with the people we come in contact with and provide them with a quality service.

“In forming this partnership with Crystal Palace FC and their Foundation we believe that we are very much fulfilling this brief and we look forward to providing local youth with quality coaching which Crystal Palace FC, as a forward-thinking Premier League club, represents.

“During these first days of our partnership we look forward to welcoming representatives from Crystal Palace FC and Active Communities Network alongside young people from Belfast and forging lasting friendships while leaving a lasting positive impact locally.”

The links between Palace and Ireland can be traced a long way back in history and in recent years many Palace players have gone on to represent the national sides including Iain Dowie, Ray Houghton, Steve Staunton and Clinton Morrison alongside current players Patrick McCarthy and Damien Delaney.

For more information about Active Communities Network please email, visit the website at, Tweet @ActiveCN, or call 020 7407 8177.