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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Premier League club praised for homelessness initiative

Westminster’s diocesan Chaplain for Sport has praised Premier League club Crystal Palace for offering rough sleepers emergency shelter from freezing weather conditions, and has urged other clubs to follow suit.

A lounge at the club’s Selhurst Park stadium will be turned into an overnight refuge for up to 10 homeless people when temperatures hit zero or colder, Crystal Palace said.

Mgr Vladimir Felzmann, Chaplain for Sport and CEO of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, said it was an outstanding example of ‘Ubuntu’, the South African word for ‘what is good for you, is good for me.’

“The rough sleepers benefit, CPFC demonstrates that it is interested in more than money: that it feels a part of – and cares for – its local community,” Mgr Felzmann told The Catholic Universe.

“We are all members of the same global human family and enlightened self-interest underpins Catholic Social teaching. As a Trustee of The Passage, I know that QPR helps the homeless.

“Perhaps supporters of every club with spare room to provide overnight accommodation should encourage their senior management team to follow the example of Crystal Palace,” Mgr Felzmann added.

Crystal Palace’s scheme provides a camp bed, a hot dinner, breakfast and washing facilities. Eight people used the shelter on Thursday, 17th January. The initiative has been agreed between Croydon Council and Crystal Palace.

Club chief executive Phil Alexander said he was “delighted” and thanked both volunteers and supermarket Sainsbury’s for providing food.

He said: “The club wants to be a force for good in the community and we are happy to do our bit to help those most in need.”

Councillor Alison Butler said it was a “wonderful gesture” by Crystal Palace, and “sets a great example.”

This weekend’s FA Cup Fourth Round fixtures:

Saturday 26th January

Accrington Stanley v Derby County – 12:30pm
Brighton & Hove Albion v West Bromwich Albion – 3:00pm
Doncaster Rovers v Oldham Athletic – 3:00pm
Manchester City v Burnley – 3:00pm
Middlesbrough v Newport County – 3:00pm
Newcastle United v Watford – 3:00pm
Portsmouth v Queens Park Rangers – 3:00pm
Shrewsbury Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers – 3:00pm
Swansea City v Gillingham – 3:00pm
Millwall v Everton – 5:30pm
AFC Wimbledon v West Ham United – 7:45pm

Sunday 27th January

Crystal Palace
 v Tottenham Hotspur – 4:00pm
Chelsea v Sheffield Wednesday – 6:00pm

Monday 28th January

Barnet v Brentford – 7:45pm

Picture: A general view of Selhurst Park, home of Crystal Palace. (John Walton/PA).