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Paying it forward: volunteers go back to school

Students on the Premier League Enterprise programme welcomed two volunteer PlayMakers into their classrooms.

Palace for Life Foundation volunteers have been sharing their experiences of the working world with students in secondary schools across Croydon. Jointly funded by the Premier League and the Professional Footballers Association, the PlayMakers programme is an initiative which allows CPFC fans to donate their skills and experience to help the Foundation improve the lives of young people in south London.

Patrick Stevens inspiring students at Oasis Academy Arena

Drawing on experiences from his own career Patrick Stevens, Rule of Law Director at Optima, spoke to 14 students at Oasis Academy Arena on Tuesday 2nd April about building resilience and growing their ambitions. The young people were in awe of Patrick’s career and made the most of the opportunity to put questions to him. One student asked what advice Patrick would give to his younger self:

“Don’t limit yourself. Try and have a vision of what you want to achieve – it doesn’t have to be the X-factor dream! Aim for something you really believe you can achieve that can make a small or large difference to the people around you. Keep trying, keep talking to people around you and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.”


“As a lifelong Palace fan, and someone lucky enough to get the breaks and go much further than I ever thought possible, I want to be part of the Foundation’s work to show other kids that they can do it too. My first experience was great - the kids were lively, but really engaged and asked some great questions. I hope they enjoyed it and it planted the odd little seed for the future.”

Patrick Stevens on his motivations for becoming a PlayMaker.

Dan Cudmore, Health Partnerships Manager at Cancer Research UK, visited Bensham Manor School on Wednesday 27th March and spoke to 16 students about the entrepreneurial skills required to succeed in business. Dan, who set-up ‘Delta Charlie Sports’ a sport and physical activity consultancy, shared some entrepreneurial hacks with the young people who are currently developing their own business plans as part of their work programme. The students engaged well with the interactive presentation as Dan enthused:

“I had a great time speaking to the young people who were driven and determined.”

Dan Cudmore presenting at Bensham Manor School

Having access to established professionals who are keen to share their experiences with eager young impressionable minds has a number of benefits as Simone Edwards, PL Enterprise Officer, explained:

“PlayMakers help the young people to think about their own career choices. Both Patrick and Dan discussed the obstacles they have overcome which helps the young people understand the importance of overcoming challenges and building resilience.”

If you are interested in becoming a PlayMaker, or for more information please contact Zaynab Osman.

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