Charlton U23s visit Greenwich Foodbank


Charlton U23s visited Greenwich Foodbank to volunteer and help out within their local community as a part of their programme.

The players were initially shown around the foodbank before taking part in dating items, unpacking donations and then creating meal packages that will be sent out to families across the borough.

Greenwich Foodbank require an increasing amount of support, whether it is volunteering or donations within the community. The club have worked closely alongside Greenwich Foodbank for a number of years, whether it is allowing them to come down to The Valley, players volunteering at the depot, or encouraging fans to donate.

Assistant Professional Development Phase Coach, Danny Senda, was leading the operation, he said: “We’ve brought the U23s down to Greenwich Foodbank today as a part of an initiative that we are working on within the U23 programme. It is something we wanted to add to the programme, we call it a culture day. Whilst we have a wonderful culture at Charlton Athletic as a whole within the academy, it is asking questions - what does that look like? How do we live it? What are the values? 

“One of the biggest values in the academy is humility, we have searched for different ways that we can do that outside our environment, ultimately we are not just trying to create young footballers, we are trying to create young people. There are lots of key factors we can do to help shape them and develop them as footballers but outside of it is a different tool that we can use to expose them to different ways of life.

“Today could be an eye opener for some of our players to the different struggles that people face in life, realising how lucky and fortunate we are.

“There is life outside of football, this should be a powerful experience for them, we set a lot of challenges to the young players, so they understand that there is a bigger world out there."

Senior Professional Development Lead Coach Anthony Hayes was also in attendance, he reflected on his U23s side and their season so far.

He said: “In terms of performances and results, we have been quite inconsistent. But in terms of the bigger picture, our function is to try and get players a career within the game, to help players get around the first team. We have had ten debuts this season, players like Deji Elerewe and Mason Burstow making significant contributions to the first team.

"We have had over 3000 academy minutes at first team level, over 8500 minutes of players out of loan. In terms of pushing players into transitioning into senior football I think it has been a positive campaign and we are excited with what the future holds with the group of players we are taking into next season, whilst also looking at the talent that is coming through at U18 and U16 level."

Last week Ryan Inniss received the award for, PFA Players in the Community Award, recognising the work he has done throughout the community consistently throughout the season. It is something the club aims for and encourages, activities such as visiting the food bank help contribute towards this.

Hayes said: “The work that Ryan [Inniss] has done within the community has been well documented, the task we are doing today, like Sends [Danny Senda] has alluded to, is vitally important that the players understand the role they have in society, the impact they can have as aspiring professionals and that there is a life outside of football." 

Among the U23s in attendance was attacking midfielder Euan Williams, who reflected on what he believes Friday’s activities will teach him and his teammates, and how it will assist their transition into professional football.

He explained: “We’re here today to help the community, it’s a chance for us to bond together as a team as well, going into the local community and giving a hand. I think from this experience we will learn how grateful we are as young men and athletes, people have it a lot harder than we do, we want to try and help people as much as possible.

“I’ve had a good season, as a team we have finished the season strongly, it’s been enjoyable. For me I have been able to play lots of games, it’s been good."

CEO of Greenwich Foodbank, Jamie Ginns, said: “We have a staff team of three, including myself and we have a volunteer base of over 160 people. We distribute food out across the borough via nine welcome centres, places where you can go to have a cup of tea and have a conversation about how you are doing, maybe get some help and guidance. We also supply a home delivery service which is great for people who maybe cannot get out of the house.

“In 2022 we have given out over 30,000 meals so far, helping several thousand people. It is our remit to not only give out food and support, but to find a path to a nation that doesn’t have the need for food banks anymore, by changing minds, community and policy. We want to let people know that we do not want to be here forever, one day we want to close.

“I am a Charlton fan in terms of football, but also in terms of what they do for the local community. Charlton Athletic Community Trust is a fantastic organisation, ‘Live Well’ as a part of that is one of our biggest referral agencies, we work very closely with them. We send people that use the food bank back to ‘Live Well’ which comes out of CACT. We have done food drives down at the games, they have been fantastic. I applaud the fact that the lads have come up today to do what they are doing, you can see when talking to them, it’s not just coming from a place of ‘This is the sort of thing we should be doing’, they want to be doing it and you can see that from the staff, coaches and players too."

Greenwich Foodbank’s social media are linked below so fans can help support the organisation, whether it’s through volunteering or pledging donations to help those in need within our community.

Twitter: @Greenwichfoodbk  

Facebook: Greenwich Foodbank

Instagram: @GreenwichFoodbank

Article by Alex Forrest

Charlton fans can support the academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club's academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.

Click here for more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member.

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