‘Fun had by all’ at Palace Sports Inclusion Day

On Friday 26 October, we were delighted to be joined by young people from across Croydon and other local boroughs for our free Sports Inclusion Day, where a range of sports and activities were on offer.

Young people and Eagle mascot at Sports Inclusion Day

The event was held at Monks Hill Leisure Centre and was aimed at 12 to 25-year-olds who have a disability or additional challenge.

Activities running on the day were football, basketball, table tennis and boccia. There was also archery, which was run by Barry Goswell and a team of volunteers from Frylands Wood and a very popular dance class with the South London Inclusive Dance Experience (SLiDE).

Martine Liscott, whose 23-year-old son Armani has autism, said: “This was the second time that we have experienced this fabulous, free Sports Inclusion Day, where there are many events to choose from.

“It was a great event by Palace for Life Foundation and was coached by our regular teachers and coaches, so it was good to see familiar (happy and enthusiastic) faces. We even got to take pictures with the Eagle mascot himself and that put a lot of cheesy grins on people’s faces. There was not a sad face in the place all day – fun to be had by all!”

Disability Worker Luke Stevens brought 12 young people to the event, including 19-year-old Natasha, who also attended our Sports Inclusion Day in April.

He said: “The young people here today all have various disabilities and learning difficulties and we have encouraged them to take part in the activities which have all been inclusive for all of them. Natasha is very active and she’s a big Palace fan, it’s a great way for her to socialise and do activities she wouldn’t normally get chance to take part in.”

Natasha, who attends college in Carshalton, added: “I enjoy the football and I’ve scored lots of goals. I also helped the other people and cheered for them when they scored.”

Natasha (second from left) and Jordan (far right)

Another young person who took part was 15-year-old Jordan O’Dea, a pupil at Bensham Manor School who attends after-school football sessions with Foundation coaches.

He said: “I do football every Tuesday night with [Foundation Disability Officer] Keon and he trains me well. I am doing a sports leadership course now as well, this club is a massive part of my life, I will do anything for this club.”
His mum, Catarina, added: “My son’s confidence has grown so much since he has started with Palace For Life Foundation and I am so proud of him, I’d like to thank to the support team.”

We would like to thank Barry Lloyd from the Croydon LA Active Lifestyles Team, Paul Funnell, the Croydon LA Disability Youth Service Lead Manager, and Andrew Slegg, Croydon LA People Department, Disability Commissioning & Brokerage, who were all instrumental in supporting the event and inviting young people from across the borough.

Throughout the day we were expertly supported by volunteers from the PL/BT Volunteer Programme, who helped to run the activities and whose enthusiastic help was greatly appreciated. We would not be able to run days like these without the continued support from our partners and local community.

One of the volunteers, Martin Lee, said:
“It was fantastic, clearly the Palace for Life team and Croydon Council put in a tremendous effort to make days like these a success. And it really was a success. The smiles on the participants faces showed that. I really enjoyed being able to take part. I also learnt some new skills myself in the Boccia session and even the Dance session.”

To find out more about our Disability Programme, please contact michaelharrington@palaceforlife.org

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