Saturday 28 September 2013
A group of South London students got the chance to meet their heroes yesterday as Barclays Premier League title sponsor Barclays teamed up with Crystal Palace to thank the Phil Edwards Centre for its commitment to the local community.
Staff and students from the Phil Edwards Centre in Upper Norwood met Palace manager Ian Holloway, captain Mile Jedinak and goalkeeper Julian Speroni and took the chance to ask question of their idols, get their autographs and enjoy an exclusive tour around Selhurst Park.
"This opportunity will leave a lasting memory of what can be achieved in life by embracing the team ethic shown at Palace"
The Phil Edwards Centre is a pupil referral unit which opened in 1997 to provide full-time education, support and sport for students who are not accessing mainstream schools. It was chosen by Barclays because of its commitment to helping improve the prospects of youth in the area. It also uses the Barclays Spaces for Sports site each week in South Norwood, one of 200 community sports sites that Barclays has built with its partner the Football Foundation, which is funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England.
This season, Barclays is identifying community groups and allowing them to visit each Barclays Premier League club as part of its campaign to thank fans and community heroes.
“The students really enjoyed the opportunity to take a look around Selhurst Park behind-the-scenes as well as talk to the manager and players who they see each week playing in the Barclays Premier League,” Ian Walters, the deputy head teacher at the centre, said. “This opportunity will leave a lasting memory of what they can achieve in life by embracing and developing the team ethic clearly displayed at Crystal Palace.
“Thanks to Barclays and Crystal Palace for arranging a great event and inviting us along to take part.”
"It’s vital young people are given the support and opportunities to further themselves and succeed"
David Wheldon, managing director of brand, reputation and citizenship at Barclays, explained the reasoning behind the selection of Phil Edwards Centre as one of their “community heroes across the UK, who help make the Barclays Premier League what it is today”.
He said: “Using one of our local Barclays Spaces for Sports sites, the Centre puts a real importance on teaching the values of teamwork through football.
"It’s vital that young people are given the support and opportunities to further themselves and succeed, which is why schemes such as the Phil Edwards Centre are so valued.”