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Palace stars surprise Team Mates session

Palace defenders Tyrick Mitchell and Nathan Ferguson delighted pupils at Downsview Primary School by joining a Palace for Life Team Mates session.

Mitchell and Ferguson joined 8 pupils who were taking part in Team Mates, which is backed by Premier League Primary stars and uses games and the power of Palace to support positive mental wellbeing.

The session started with pupils sharing things they were grateful for before the Palace duo surprised the group by coming into the session and joining the activities.

One group activity included a discussion around being an ally and how you can support someone receiving abuse.  Both Mitchell and Ferguson shared that talking to their teammates and coaches about any abuse they may receive, and having a close bond with them, was really helpful and important to them.

The Palace stars then joined pupils in creating their very own No Room for Racism posters.

Talking about taking part in the Team Mates session, Ferguson said: “My poster was amazing. The kids loved it, I was copying the young lady next to me, so she wasn’t very happy with mine! But everyone else was pretty thrilled with my drawings of stickmen.”

He continued: “I was really happy to come to see the kids today for the first time after COVID. It’s been a difficult time not just for me but for everyone so it was very nice to come here and speak to them. They were a confident bunch and a couple of them asked me some really nice questions, like how I deal with racism and who do I speak to about it.

“The best thing to do is getting things off of my chest and speaking to someone about it, and that’s what I tried to teach them today. I feel like some of them took it on board, even if I helped just one kid, that means we’re taking a step forward.”

Left back Tyrick Mitchell spoke to pupils about how he would deal with racism and encouraged young people to support friends who may experience racism by being there to listen to them, and to tell a teacher. Speaking on the Foundation and the importance of the session he said: “I’m extremely proud to be here today. I always want to help children growing up who might really look up to you as a role model. Being back at school is a humbling experience because I went through this exactly like them.

“The Foundation helps kids and teenagers, especially in south London and around Crystal Palace. It helps and benefits people for the future and allows the club and community to interact. Being able to sit down and speak to the kids growing up in a similar area is important. And I think it’s important to teach kids about this at a young age.

Palace for Life’s Race Equality Lead James Odagi said: It’s great we’re able to have these conversations with pupils from a young age. It’s important that we’re able to showcase to them what an ally is and how you can be one as well as reiterate that we should be celebrating everybody’s differences.

“The great thing about Team Mates sessions is that they also provide pupils with the tools to help them if they suffer anything like racism or bullying, and what steps they should take if it should ever happen to them”.

Team Mates works with pupils to help improve their mental wellbeing, developing tools to help improve communication, self-esteem and resilience.

To find out more about Team Mates, click HERE.

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