It’s been another busy season for the Palace for Life Disability department! We’re taking a look back at some of our key achievements from our very own, award-winning, Disability Manager, Michael Harrington, who scooped two awards himself this year – the Premier League ‘One of our Own’ award and the Surrey FA Grassroots coach of the year Disability Pathway award!

Bromley holiday camps

This season, we were delighted to maintain our commitment to providing SEND Holiday respite camps in collaboration with the Bromley Children & Families Voluntary Sector Forum. Our camp aims to offer much-needed relief to Bromley parents caring for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Through our child-led activity camp, children can participate in a variety of activities such as sports, arts and crafts, and engaging LEGO sessions. Additionally, we offer a dedicated 1-2-1 service for those who need personalised support on a daily basis. We wanted to create a nurturing and inclusive environment for children and their parents, providing them with moments of valuable rest and rejuvenation.

One of the parents of the participants spoke on the beneficial impacts this has on their family:

”The short breaks that Palace for Life provides hold tremendous significance for our family. They offer a temporary escape from the challenges and demands of everyday life, allowing us to recharge and rejuvenate and provide the rare freedom that is essential for the overall well-being of our family’’

Powerchair success!

Following on from the achievements of last season, our Powerchair Football team had its most successful season in history! Over the course of the season, we were undefeated, winning 11 of our 12 games, and were crowned South East Region League 2 Division Champions! It is truly wonderful to see all the players finally rewarded for their hard work and dedication by winning the League title after so many years. As well as winning the league, we had the top scorer and player of the season in our ranks, so a real clean sweep!

Our team were visited by Vicente Guaita and Chloe Arthur who they both got involved in the training session before going in goal for a match. Vicente Guaita commended the players when asked about his experience of the day: ‘’ It is easier when you have everything so it is important for myself to help out others when I can and I am hoping for a rematch soon’’. The same weekend, the team was invited to Selhurst Park for the game against Leicester and brought their winning streak and luck with them as they witnessed a Palace win with a last-minute winner from Mateta.

The new season will start in September, and if you, or anyone else you know, thinks you may be interested in joining us then you can contact me and I’ll let you know all about it, and arrange for you to come down and have a look at what we do for yourselves.

DS Eagles go viral!

After working so hard in training, we hosted another end-of-season award ceremony, where everyone on the team got recognised for what they did:

  • Marc Guehi (captain fantastic) – James
  • Eze award (Maestro award)- Ruairi
  • Olise award (best goal of the season) – Jamaal
  • Annabel Blanchard (most assists this season) – Nathan
  • Cheick Doucouré (team player) – Max
  • Odsonne Édouard (top striker) – Louis
  • Chris Richards award (top defender) – Azele
  • Will Hughes (utility player) – Joshua
  • Sam Johnstone (top goalkeeper) – Hugh
  • Joachim Andersen (fearless defender) – Cosmin
  • David Ozoh award (breakthrough player) – Johnathon
  • Ray Lewington award (top assistant) – Thomas
  • Jeffrey Schlupp award (all-rounder player) – Aamir
  • Joel Ward (assist of the season) – Brandon

Our DS Eagles also had a viral moment on our TikTok and Instagram accounts which totalled 7.4 million views and 650k likes and counting! The video showed the DS Eagles heart-warming personality and their love for the game of football which captured the hearts of millions worldwide.

Time to go to school…

Throughout this school year, we have collaborated with numerous SEND and mainstream schools across Bromley, Croydon, and Sutton. A total of 236 children with special educational needs participated in our engaging football-based sessions, developing their physical and social development.

We’re really proud to have organised two engaging SEND football festivals at the Crystal Palace Academy, welcoming kids aged 6 to 16. Through this special occasion, they were able to bond with peers who shared similar experiences, forming a supportive and understanding community.

Football for mental health

Football for Health is a collaborative mental health football program in partnership with south London and Maudsley (SLaM) Trust helping Croydon residents. Through weekly active football sessions, we support adults with severe mental illness (SMI) to live more independent, fulfilling lives and become less reliant on the NHS.

Youth Pan pride

Throughout the school year, we worked closely with a local community group, and led them to this year’s Premier League Disability Cup at Chelsea FC’s training ground! This was a special moment because they improved on last year’s performance, winning Group B. We also took the only all-girl team to the Premier League’s Southern Region Kicks Cup. As well as increasing the participants’ confidence, it also created a lifelong memory for both teams. This made us really proud, proving that dedication and teamwork can lead to extraordinary achievements.

For more information on our Disability Sport programmes, click here.

21 March 2024


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