Our patron and founder Paul Canoville joined a group of young people from the Borough of Southwark (15/08/17) to take part and deliver a resilience workshop which enabled the group to discuss various issues on equality and diversity.
Paul discussed his experiences as the first black player to sign and play for Chelsea after moving from Hillingdon Borough in 1981. Throughout his career at Chelsea, alongside many other black players in the 1970s and 1980s, suffered racism and abuse. Since his early retirement from the game due to injury, Paul has suffered depression and has beaten cancer on three separate occasions. He now delivers mental health and resilience workshops with young people as part of the Paul Canoville Foundation, as well as working for Chelsea FC as an ambassador and matchday host.
Paul delighted 25 young people when he arrived at the four hour workshop hosted by Active Communities Network (ACN), following a viewing of the Black and Blue documentary on his career and the effects his experiences had on his personal life. This led to a question and answer session which allowed the young people to discuss issues of racism, problem solving and resilience.
The workshop was part of the ACN Southwark Urban Stars summer programme which has been running 7 days a week throughout the school holidays. The programme includes a combination of different sporting opportunities, work experience placements, training qualifications as well as workshops to help develop each individual.
Paul said, “It is a privilege to be able to share my story and experience with the next generation of young people and that was the reason for starting my own foundation. I would like to thank all the ACN staff and the young people that attended for making this such a memorable event.”
Oliur Rahman, the head of programmes for London said, “It was great to have Paul visit our session and speak about the struggles he had throughout his career and the effect that had on his personal life. The discussions around equality and diversity were fantastic and it allowed our young people to really speak out about these difficult subjects. I would like to thank Southwark Council, London Southbank University and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation for making the programme happen.”
The summer programme which is funded by the Borough of Southwark will continue to run for the following couple of weeks with a London community tournament rounding off the summer on the 25th August 2017.