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2020-21 Season Review

The 2020-21 season was a turbulent one as we experienced the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic, including lockdowns in November and from January to March, which forced us to suspend the majority of our face-to-face activities. Through the hard work of all our coaches; we still achieved several successes across all of our programmes:

Disability Sport

Our Disability Sport team worked with 135 people across weekly football sessions and kept our DS Eagles together on a weekly Zoom call where they were even joined by Palace players Nathan Ferguson and Cheikhou Kouyaté for an evening!

We were also thrilled to deliver 150 activity packs to local school children with a disability during lockdown, ensuring that they could stay active at home.


Community Engagement

On the community engagement side of the organisation, 600 young people, 130 of them female, took part in Premier League Kicks across 14 weekly sessions this season, meaning more young people were in safe spaces and receiving mentoring. We were thrilled to have 50 adults attend our Ramadan Football and Fasting sessions, bringing our Muslim community together to celebrate and stay active.

Over 450 children took part in our free Holiday Extravaganzas over school holidays, allowing them to keep active, let them try new sports and feed them delicious and nutritious meals. They were also surprised with virtual visits from Palace duo Jack Butland and Tyrick Mitchell!

Over 300 community members attended Play on the Pitch events at Selhurst Park. It was a delight to invite so many people into the stadium for a safe and enjoyable day considering the past year’s events.


Health and Wellbeing

As part of our social prescribing programme, we launched our new Referral Process. Our one-stop-shop Referral Process is to get people into the best sessions for them and pair them with coaches to transform their futures.

Our Health and Wellbeing team also adapted our Healthy Eagles programme to make it accessible in any situation. By offering activity packs, telephone check-ins, recipe books, webinars and physical activity videos, we were able to help people develop healthier relationships with nutrition and exercise during lockdown.


Primary Schools

We supported 52 schools and over 7,700 pupils throughout the last season, helping young people in our community with a range of skills from reading and writing to dribbling and passing.

During lockdown, we maintained staff in person at eight schools, helping care for the children of key workers. We delivered virtual mental wellbeing workshops for more than 2,000 children during lockdown to support their mental health.

We were delighted to take over 200 girls on their first steps into football with FA Weetabix Wildcats sessions. Finally, this season our primary schools team hosted over 300 pupils from 32 different schools in football tournaments and festivals, including one at Selhurst Park!


Football development and Soccer Schools

We delivered football sessions throughout our local area, with over 300 weekly attendees at Player Development Centres and over 2,300 young people attending our holiday Soccer Schools. These sessions get young people on the pathway into Palace for Life Team Development sessions which gives them the opportunity to trial for and join the Crystal Palace Academy.


Targeted Interventions

We supported 38 young people on our Breaking the Cycle programme, which focuses on taking young people at risk of being exploited by or becoming part of criminal activity and getting them onto a more positive path.

Due to the pandemic, our Divert programme in Croydon Custody Suite was suspended, but we will resume work there shortly, aiming to continue our award-winning programme.

Route to Employment

We delivered Premier League Inspires to help 100 young people grow their personal and social skills.

We also worked with three groups of 32 young people in our Traineeship, which supports individuals who are out of education and training. The traineeship gives these young people accredited qualifications and work experience helping them towards positive pathways in education, training or employment.


Despite a shift in format due to the pandemic, we ran our first NCS programmes in summer and autumn 2020 for 160 young people, who upon completing the programme had delivered over 2,800 hours of volunteering across south London. This included writing with local care home residents throughout national lockdowns, supporting the Salvation Army and conservation work with London Wildlife Trust.

Foundation Wide

We held a range of engagement activities to raise awareness of our work and to reach more young people in our local community, including:

  • Joining local activists, young people, voluntary organisations, the Met Police and Croydon Council to address the challenges our community faced from racism to knife crime to health and how we can work together to tackle them. This work has culminated in two celebration events on the pitch at Selhurst Park and our participation in the GLA funded ‘MyEnds’ project to tackle youth violence in the London Road area.
  • Palace stars Jack Butland, Tyrick Mitchell, Amber Stobbs, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Leigh Nichol and Nathan Ferguson joined Palace for Life participants for question and answer sessions via Zoom calls.
  • We produced a film for Black History Month featuring successful role models from south London.
  • We partnered with the KeepCroydonConnected campaign to appeal for donations of IT devices, launched with the help of our patron Susanna Reid. We were able to help young people stay engaged in education by making online education more accessible.
  • We continued to partner with the club chefs and food charity City Harvest London to produce and distribute over 30,000 meals to local people in the greatest need with Palace Kitchen.
  • We hosted a football tournament for south London NHS workers to say thank you for their work over the last year. The winners will represent Palace against the other clubs in a London United tournament in September.
  • This season we held our 4th Marathon March in October 2020, where 130 walkers joined us as well as Foundation patron, Eddie Izzard, raising over £74,000 for Palace for Life projects.
  • Our match day Super Draw raised close to £40,000, a Shirt Auction raised almost £10,000, and our London United ‘Race Europe’ Challenge over £7,000. Allowing us to continue our work across south London.

Palace for Life Foundation would like to thank everyone who has helped make the 2020/21 season successful despite very challenging circumstances.

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