The Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson which is set to redevelop Croydon’s retail centre, is strengthening its support for the Palace for Life Foundation.
Since its inception, the Croydon Partnership team have supported the Foundation’s aims to transform the lives of young people in south London through the football club and sport, delivering initiatives aimed at preparing local young people for employment and further education. This year, the Partnership has been supporting the delivery of the Palace of Life’s Premier League Works employability programme.
Local students engaging with the programme from across Croydon have been attending workshops hosted by the Croydon Partnership. The programme gives young people first-hand experience of the world of work and provides an insight into the range of job opportunities. Role-play interviews and practical advice on employability helped students consider the basic skills employers are looking for.
In September, Steve Yewman, Development Director at Westfield, will be the guest speaker speaking at the Crystal Palace Football Club Business Club, where he will be giving the local business community an insight in to the Partnership’s vision for Croydon as part of the wider regeneration of the town centre and encouraging more businesses to get behind the Foundation.
This year’s collaboration with Crystal Palace builds on three years support of the football club, working together on a wide range of programmes and initiatives aimed at preparing local young people for employment and further education.
Croydon Partnership has worked with the Palace of Life Foundation as part of its Community Plan and since 2014 has financially supported the delivery/implementation of the following projects:
• In 2014, CLP provided financial support for a 6 week summer school Football Academy for 60 Young people aged between 11 and 16. The football training course provided them with an opportunity to improve their football technical skills such as passing, shooting, dribbling and defending as well as their general fitness.
• In 2015, CLP supported the delivery of the Aspire Engage Employability Programme that used sport, accredited courses and community engagement to help young people develop life skills and build their confidence. The intensive 12 week programme helped prepare a total of 30 young people prepare for employment, and further education.
• In 2016/17, CLP provided financial support towards PFLF’s Aspire II programme, another 12 very week, very intensive programme taking place three times a year that saw young people receive training in a range of subjects and learn useful ‘life tools’ that are applicable to the workplace. This initiative was also supported by several housing associations with from the Croydon area.
Susan Patterson-Smith, Deputy Head of Community Development, Palace for Life Foundation, said: “Local businesses and employers have so much to offer young people, particularly those who haven’t been dealt the best cards in life and who very limited networks. This is where the Croydon Partnership is leading the way –connecting young people to local business and employers who want to share their expertise, mentor and provide young people with opportunities that will make a real difference.”
James Harrison Sears, a coach with Palace for Life Foundation, said of a recent trip to Hammerson’s office in Central London: “Before they were not keen at all on the idea of travelling to Hammerson’s Head Offices for mock interviews and help with their CV’s but they were buzzing afterwards. Even this one trip has helped young people realise that there is a life outside of the current environment in which they live in.”
Steve Yewman, Development Director, Westfield, said: “Over the years, we have been inspired by the young people we have been able to support as a result of our partnership with the Palace for Life Foundation. We strongly believe in their mission and we are very pleased to be working with a charity that provides an opportunity for young people to further their education and improve their chances of getting into employment. The Croydon Partnership and the Foundation shares the same passion for supporting young people, and our renewed commitment ensures that together we can continue to offer this support to those that need it most. ”