"In all it’s just a great day!” - Palace Sports Inclusion Day
Over 100 young people attended the Palace for Life Sports Inclusion Day on Friday 12 April at Monks Hill Sports Centre, a free event for local people with disabilities or additional challenges where a variety of sports and activities were on offer.
On the day, the sports hall boasted a variety of options for the attendees to take part in, with sessions including short tennis, Boccia, basketball and table tennis led by Croydon Council sports leaders.
A short trip across the hall into the dance studio saw dance classes lead by choreographer Jodie Cole, where participants were treated to learning a section of the Eagle Swoop, a high-energy song and dance video created as a result of a collaboration between Palace for Life Foundation, the Premier League and the BBC as part of Super Movers.
Outside on the football pitches the young people had the opportunity to join in with football sessions lead by Palace for Life coaches. These sessions included drills specific to each individual’s needs with a mixture of fun games and matches.
Palace for Life Disability Manager, Michael Harrington, said: “Today has been a great day, it gives people a chance to come along, play some sports they haven’t played before, join in with Palace for Life, meet new friends and really get a chance to play sports that they love.
“We’re delighted to have had such a great turn out and to see so many people really enjoying themselves, and trying new things. It’s been great fun and I can’t wait for the next one.”
Jessica McGuire, one of the young people attending the day, and is supported by Croydon Mencap said: “I’m having a really good time, I’ve played a lot of table tennis so far which I’ve really enjoyed, but I’m really looking forward to getting outside and playing football.
“I’ve been to a Palace for Life Inclusion Day before, but a long time ago. I would love to get to come again soon.”
Another young person supported by Croydon Mencap is Connor Purchase, who said: “I’m really enjoying myself. I’ve been really looking forward to dance, as well as playing table tennis and football. I’ve done the other three sports too, and liked doing the shooting in basketball.”
Lloyd Thomas, Deputy Manager and Support Worker at Croydon Mencap said: “Days like today are great opportunities that everyone can come along to, where they can meet up with their friends as well as make new ones. Giving them a chance to keep healthy, active and try new things. In all it’s just a great day!”
On the day we were joined by a group of volunteers from the PL/BT Volunteer programme, who supported the delivery of the day. They kept the day running smoothly and ensured that all young people had a brilliant day.
Project Software Manager and volunteer on the day, Josh, told us that: “Today has been really impacting. There’s a group of five of us here volunteering, it’s great to be able to get the chance to help the local community. “
Steve, Chief Engineer for Openreach added that: “The day has been really well organised and it’s amazing how many people have come here for it. It’s really fun for both the participants, and ourselves!”
Days like this would not be possible without our partners who work tirelessly alongside the Palace for Life Disability Programme to achieve our mission of helping young south Londoners, focusing on those with disabilities or additional challenges, through the power of sport.
We would like to thank:
Barry Lloyd of Croydon Local Authority’s Active Lifestyles Team, who offers vital support as part of the RAP Sport Courses. Funded by Short Breaks, they work with children and young people with disabilities aged 5 – 25 years old, and kindly provided Local Authority coaches to us on the day for free.
Andrew Slegg of Croydon Local Authority People Department Disability Commissioning & Brokerage, who majorly contributed in promoting the day to members of the local community.
Disability Youth Service Lead Manager, Paul Funnell who promoted the event and bought along participants on the day, whilst supplying staff to support them for free.
Registered charity Slide Dance who delivered expert dance sessions tailored for people with disabilities throughout the day, including a taster of the Eagle Swoop!
We hope to run another Inclusion Day soon, but in the meantime, to find out more about our Disability programmes click here.