The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, visited Selhurst Park the home of Crystal Palace FC meet young people benefitting from positive mentoring activities #London

Channel 1 Los Angeles

London 2/19/2020

Mentoring is the latest phase of the Kicks programme available to young people needing support to reach their full potential and to prevent them getting caught up in violent crime. This is one element of the three-year partnership between City Hall, the Premier League, professional football clubs, and the Metropolitan Police, supporting young Londoners through the Premier League Kicks social inclusion programme which gives participants access to free football sessions and activities, as well as workshops that support and educate.

Across the next year, the mentoring programme at Selhurst Park will see 30 young Londoners each receive 12 weeks of dedicated mentoring support from the Palace for Life Foundation. The young people are referred to the programme by schools, youth offending teams or pupil referral units and receive a range of support to get them back into education and employment with local companies.

They receive one-to-one support from mentors from the local area on a weekly basis in a classroom, club, home or informal setting depending on their specific needs. Many of the mentors have themselves come from similar backgrounds so can relate to the experiences and challenges faced and can work in partnership with the young people to help build their confidence and direction.

The Mayor is supporting the work of the Palace for Life Foundation via a £1.2m grant to Croydon Council from round two of his Young Londoners’ Fund. The £45m fund was created by Sadiq in 2018 to support education, sport and cultural activities for young people to help tackle knife crime and youth violence. More than 110,000 young Londoners are already benefitting. Last week, the Mayor announced additional funding of £25m to build on the Young Londoners Fund, bringing the total funding for projects and programmes that provide positive opportunities for young people and help steer them away from crime to £70m.

During this week’s half-term holiday, parents and kids can find hundreds of different activities on offer for young people across the capital, using City Hall’s online map, which contains details on free events, workshops and clubs.

Mentoring is just one example of the work being delivered by football clubs through the Premier League Kicks programme across the capital. Free football sessions, workshops and other activities currently run at more than 150 locations across London and aim to engage more than 25,000 young people over the next three years.

A further eight football clubs in London, including five Premier League clubs, are offering mentoring to those who are more likely to be involved in serious youth violence. This programme delivery will extend over the next three years as further professional football clubs run this targeted activity.

Sadiq was joined on the visit to Selhurst Park by ex-Crystal Palace footballer Mark Bright. He faced racism growing up and in his early footballing career, and credits his move to Crystal Palace for helping him turn his life around.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “When I was teenager, I was lucky to have a youth club nearby which allowed me to take up boxing and keep me out of mischief. Sport has the potential to inspire and change young people’s lives, and that’s why I want Londoners to have the same opportunities that I did. I’m proud to have teamed up with the Premier League to help provide these activities for young people and to give them the chance to hear the voice of mentors who have been in such similar situations. It’s vital we help young people make the right choices as early as we can, and by joining together and investing in our communities we can help put them on a path away from the dangers of crime.”

Angel O’Dwyer, Community Development Officer for the Palace for Life Foundation, said: “I know how hard it can be for a young person to turn their life around when things have gone wrong, but with the right support, it can be done. Having been through some tough times myself, I am now proud to be helping others and giving them the confidence and self-belief that they can achieve great things.”

Bill Bush, Executive Director, Premier League, said: “Through the Premier League Kicks programme we are providing mentoring that enables young people to be the best versions of themselves. Partnering with City Hall and the Metropolitan Police, we are working closely with young Londoners to engage those most in need of support, giving them opportunities to enjoy themselves, whilst also providing positive pathways to suit their individual needs. This provision extends nationally through our partnership with BBC Children in Need, in supporting more than 40 professional football clubs to deliver this targeted work, all with the aim of building stronger, safer and more inclusive communities.”

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