Paul Canoville is a recognisable face to many following his achievement as the first black professional footballer for Chelsea Football Club. He uses his background and his own life experiences to engage positively with young people.

He speaks of the challenges he faced as a youth, and explains that despite his achievements as a professional footballer he wished he had prioritised and realised the value of education.

His driving force and real motivation is summed up in one word:


He loves nothing more than going into schools and working with young people. Paul strives to provide inspiring and motivational talks with the aim of encouraging young people to stay in school and remain positive about the whole concept of education.

Paul has taken his message to many countries, more recently to Germany, Switzerland, Australia, United States of America and India which has helped him to spread his knowledge to youths abroad.


Written by Paul …

I identified that the skills I had gathered during my footballing days were what had helped me to cope with life’s adversities. These include positive focus, visualizing change and self-motivation among others. He helped me to see that the range of life experiences I have had including substance misuse, beating cancer and depression were overcome using those skills and that I could have a lot to offer to show that young people on the periphery of criminality or engaged in anti-social behavior can turn their life around”

They say there is no substitute for experience. But that experience is only worthwhile if it is put to good use. This has fueled my eagerness to pass on the lessons learned from my troubled life to others. There is no doubt that I have been through many highs and lows of life. I am more than willing to pass on tales of both the good and the bad times to others to help them forge a better future for themselves, and with the help of my colleagues we hope to provide this through the charity which will provide a service to disadvantaged young people.

Sharing this common interest, Desmond and I went on to form the venture called Motivation to Change with the aim of challenging self-limiting beliefs of those young people who find themselves outside of mainstream education by virtue of their behavior.

“Our aim is to show that the values they have adopted are counter-productive both to them and to their community. We target those involved in criminality at varying levels, engaging them in interactive workshops we have designed, with the aim of reintroducing positivity and community responsibility”.

There has been significant interest in the work we do, and we noted as we traveled around that for our message to have a more long lasting, measurable impact we would have to deliver it within a programme. From that idea we engaged with other interested and benevolent parties and together we decided that Motivation to Change was re branded as The Paul Canoville Foundation.

At this point I want to make it clear that I still go into schools, youth clubs, and anywhere where young people are to deliver my talks on the importance of education and the story of my life, however, this is not what the foundation does. That work is separate and can be accessed via referral on this website.

The foundation will be running 2 football teams in a Saturday league. Our aim is to provide discipline, structure and encouragement to support young people find the right path in life.

Our workshops will include focus on personal responsibility, planning ahead, self-discipline, understanding self, using your head, making positive connections and managing anger.

As well as the above we aim to assist where possible, other charities who share the same ideals and goals we have.

Visit Paul Canoville website and follow him on Facebook!

Paul Canoville (aka) Canners.