Home > News > No Room For Racism: Five Minutes with…Race Equality Lead, Cordell

No Room For Racism: Five Minutes with...Race Equality Lead, Cordell

To commemorate the Premier League’s ongoing No Room For Racism campaign, we caught up with Targeted Intervention Youth Worker and recently appointed Race Equality Lead Cordell Lake-Benjamin about his decision to take up the role and his experience of winning at the Football Black List ceremony.

Hi Cordell – can you tell us a little bit about your roles at Palace for Life?

My role is Targeted Intervention Youth Worker, and I was just appointed Race Equality Lead in the last few weeks too.

As part of the Targeted Intervention Team, I conduct one-to-one mentoring within the community and at schools to help steer young people away from criminality and trouble.

As for my recent, additional role as Race Equality Lead in the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) team, I’m responsible for promoting and embedding diversity within the Foundation and making sure everybody has an equal opportunity to be heard and succeed no matter their race.

What made you apply for the role of Race Equality Lead, and what are you looking forward to achieving in the position?

I’m mainly looking forward to expressing the ideas I’ve had in my head for a while now. I don’t want to give too much away, but one of the first things I am going to be doing is creating an interactive wall in our office with facts and information relating to diversity in our area and what we can all do as staff at the Foundation to ensure everyone feels included.

One of the main reasons I went for the role is because it’s something that’s really close to me. I’ve always been really passionate about equality and making sure everyone gets a fair chance.

What do you do in or outside of work to make sure everyone gets a fair chance?

Away from my work at Palace, I coach a football team called Parkside F.C. based in Tolworth, and I’m the EDI lead there, too. I try and make sure everyone has equal opportunities, no matter their background. We have coaches coming through from a variety of backgrounds, which is really good to see. At work, for me, it’s simply to just to make sure everyone’s getting a fair chance and feels listened to.

How important is it that people from a variety of different backgrounds are provided positive role models?

It’s extremely important to make sure we have all sorts of role models. People I work with come from a range of backgrounds, but many of them come from disadvantaged ones. So, when they look up and see people who have been successful and doing amazing things, I hope that they can see someone like themselves so they believe that they can be successful, too.

You were recently awarded with the Community + Grassroots award at the Football Black List Ceremony, what was that like?

It was amazing! Last year, I was lucky enough to receive the ‘Ones to Watch’ award, which to me was like, “OK, you have potential!” then this year, winning the ‘Community and Grassroots’ Award, it was like, “You are achieving your potential, and you are successful.” That really hit home and felt so rewarding.

At the ceremony, I met some lovely people. It was even better because some people who I look up to already knew who I was! Troy Townsend, who’s the Head of ‘Kick It Out,’ an anti-racist organisation, and Sayce Holmes-Lewis, the CEO of the mentoring company Mentivity, both knew who I was, which really surprised me and gave me a massive confidence boost!

A lot of the work I do at Palace for Life can’t always be publicised or spoken about because of confidentiality, so sometimes I question if I’m doing a good job or not. But it’s the little things like when parents come back to you and say, “Look, my child is doing so well” or when a referral comes back and says, “You’re doing a brilliant job”, that always feels the most rewarding, so the award on top of that sort of feedback was great.

Thanks Cordell!

No Room for Racism is an ongoing campaign from the Premier League and participating clubs to come together and remind fans that discrimination has no place in our game. All matches between 6th and 15th April are dedicated to the campaign. However, wide-ranging work is carried out year-round by Crystal Palace and Palace for Life to ensure that all areas of the game are more diverse.

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