Men’s first-team train with Upbeats for World Down’s Syndrome Day

Upbeats with Men's first team

Charlton’s first-team players were joined by members of the Charlton Upbeats for a training session on Wednesday morning to mark World Down’s Syndrome Day.

Addicks boss Nathan Jones led a seven-a-side match against the Upbeats, joining Alfie May, George Dobson, Panutche Camará, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Terry Taylor and Lucas Ness in taking on players from the Charlton Athletic Community Trust’s (CACT) much-loved Down’s syndrome programme.

The Upbeats are funded entirely by donations – every year, a Charlton matchday is dedicated to the Upbeats with supporters encouraged to donate to the cause.

Before the Addicks’ game against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, April 20th, the Upbeats Walk, this year sponsored by We Are BrandNew, will take place which will see fans and supporters take on a nine-mile charity walk from the training ground to The Valley, to help raise funds for the Charlton Upbeats programme. Last year a record £49,000 was raised, and this year’s target is £35,000.

On the pitch before the first-team game, the Upbeats will also be playing their own game against Everton in the Community’s Down’s syndrome team.

After watching the first-team training session, the Upbeats were able to join in and get tips from the players and Jones, before being put through their paces in a keenly contested match against their heroes.

Charlton Manager Nathan Jones said: “It was great to meet them. They’re a great group and they’ve really lifted the place! It was great to have them here.

“We have such a good Community Trust and the Upbeats is just a facet of it. It’s a wonderful community club and we want to make sure we continue that because community is at the heart of everything that we do here.

“They far exceeded the necessary target last season thanks to the fans so I hope we can do that again.”

The Addicks’ 25-goal striker, Alfie May, added: “It was really fun. It’s a great example of the community work that the club does.

“They gave us a good game! You could see the smile on their faces and how much it meant to them. I don’t think I needed to give them many tips - their striking of the ball was incredible!”

CACT’s Disability & Mental Health Manager, Terry Peart, said: “Every year we’re invited to get involved with the players and, yet again, they’ve been absolutely brilliant.

“Nathan and the boys jumped in to have a small-sided game and it means so much to them – to be near their heroes and to be part of the club.

“From year one of the programme, we can’t credit the fans enough. They come out in their droves and support the Upbeats initiative. Over the years it’s grown massively and they know how important it is to the Community Trust and the club to showcase what great work we do, so it’s brilliant to have their support.”

Help us to make this year’s Upbeats Walk a success and sign up to join us here!

Can’t join us for the walk? If you can, please consider donating to support the programme instead!

Read Time: 3 mins