The much-loved Charlton Upbeats have been helping to feed Charlton supporters at The Valley on matchday with the recent opening of the Upbeats Kitchen in the Covered End.
Working together with Gather and Gather, the club’s catering partner, members of the Upbeats team have been serving soup to supporters from the brand-new kiosk located in the Covered End lower concourse, with the kitchen having its shutters opened for the first time by Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard prior to the victory over Ipswich Town on December 7th.
The Upbeats programme is run by the Charlton Athletic Community Trust for young people and adults with Down’s syndrome, has been running for 14 years and is entirely funded by voluntary donations.
Speaking about the initiative, Ben Burton of Gather and Gather said: “It was a brainwave between myself and the club. We discussed it and it was something that Gather and Gather really wanted to get involved in and we thought it was a really good opportunity to put something back into the community.
“It’s been absolutely amazing. I can speak on behalf of all my team that we have felt so rewarded in the last few weeks since we have been working with the lads. They’re a cracking team and a cracking bunch of lads to the point that I’m trying to employ them in other roles within our team.
“They’re technical skills and enthusiasm is brilliant and they’re an absolute pleasure to have around. They’re more than welcome to be in our kitchen every day of the week.”
Terry Peart, Disability and Mental Health Manager for the Community Trust added: “It’s a great opportunity for the Upbeats. It’s brilliant for them to get some paid work and they’re just so excited to be part of the club and to do this initiative.
“We’re not just doing this for a couple of weeks, it will be here for good. Hopefully, over time it will extend to burgers and other things like that as they get used to it and get the hang of it.”
Supporters in the Covered End will be able to visit the Upbeats Kitchen at every home game this season.