Jake Forster-Caskey attends Valley Central opening

Jake Forster-Caskey was a special guest on Monday as Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) unveiled Valley Central Youth Hub, one of its four main Young Greenwich youth hubs.

Young Greenwich is the name for the universal youth service delivered by CACT on behalf of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The programme offers a range of free activities to young people aged 10-19 or up to 25 for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Speaking at the event, Forster-Caskey gave his views on why it is necessary to have such a space open. 

“It is important because some young people aren’t fortunate enough to be able to take part in activities like this and Charlton are doing a great job in allowing kids to have times to get active and obviously every child needs that.”

He went on to explain the types of activities that are available at Valley Central. 

“They’ve got a boxing ring down there, I didn’t want to go in there really! They’ve got table tennis, FIFA and all this stuff that young people enjoy so it’s amazing.

“I played a bit of FIFA, I’m not the best at that… I played the table tennis. But, you know, it’s brilliant for the kids and everybody that can come down here and enjoy it.”

Councillor Gary Dillon and Cllr Linda Perks were also in attendance and discussed the importance of the provision for young people. 

Linda said: “It’s really important that they can find somewhere to go, meet up and do things that are constructive and help people and also things that are helpful to them.” 

“I think it’s impressive… what really struck me was that it was really active and there was lots of opportunity for people of all ages, boys and girls to do lots of different things. They were busy dancing to the disco… there was the table tennis and then the boxing! And the boxing was great. 

“I’ve seen everything from hefty young lads who can really throw their weight around, to some really young girls who are learning to box here, which I think is great because everyone needs to develop their own skills and hold their own. So it’s wonderful.”

Gary said: “If you’ve got a focal point like this for the youth of the area, it will play an integral part in the community cohesion. You can see that there’s a good mix of people here from all over Charlton and I think it just feeds on. The positive stuff from within the centre just feeds on to the community.”

For those looking to attend in the future, sessions will be on from Tuesdays to Fridays and will include a variety of activities.

• Tuesdays 7:15 - 9:15pm- Integrated Sessions Age 10-19 (+25 SEND) including specialist deaf station

• Wednesdays 7:15 - 9:15pm- Youth Sessions, Age: 13-19 

• Thursdays 6:15 - 8:15pm- Integrated Sessions, Age: 10-19 (+25 SEND)

• Fridays 3:45pm - 5:45pm- Inter sessions Age: 8-12

• Fridays 6:30pm – 8:00pm-Football sessions Age: 13-19

For further information, please contact Valley Central’s Unit Manager, Rose Ziaei, on rose.ziaei@cact.org.uk.

Tickets for Charlton's next home game - against league leaders Luton Town on Saturday, April 13th - are on sale and can be purchased online by clicking here.

Article by Brandon Smith

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