Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT), the UK's leading Football Community Trust, has signed up to play a major role in the development and delivery of community activities and services in Thamesmead.
Officers from the Trust have developed a close relationship with their counterparts at CACT over recent years, particularly around the development of Sporting Club Thamesmead and The Link Thamesmead. Now, with the capital projects poised to open and CACT leading the delivery of targeted youth provision within Greenwich and Bexley, both partners have signed a ‘Together We Can' Partnership Agreement to underpin their joint-working over the coming year.
Relationship Manager Richard Fishlock has been leading the discussions with Charlton and picks up the story….
“I first became involved with CAC Trust back in 2007 when the Trust was fundraising for the development of Sporting Club Thamesmead. The guys from Charlton helped us put together the Football Development Plan for the project and committed to co-fund the Sports Development Worker we now have in post - Dan Wells. These commitments went a long way to helping us successfully secure the grant of £1.1m from the Football Foundation.
“Since then we have further progressed our partnership through the development of The Link. The project seemed a natural fit for CACT's diverse programme of activities for young people, and last year we were able to secure capital funding from our Board to enable Charlton to eventually take up residence in Arch F later this year.
“We're really excited at the prospect of Charlton joining us at the two projects - they have a great track record of delivery and a fantastic reputation. More than that, they share our vision of what can be achieved for the local community in Thamesmead.”
Richard reports that our joint work with CACT also means that we have joined a small group of organisations that have become patrons of CACT. Each organisation sponsors a strand of Charlton's work and we have elected to lead on the ‘Thamesmead Strand'. He continues: “Being a patron means that we regularly network with other patrons and that our logo features on both CACT's website and the Patrons' Board at the training ground. We are also invited to the Trust's annual dinner, their seminars, networking events and we get some free tickets for matches.
“Gallions Housing Association is the patron for Charlton's Healthy Living work and Axis Foundation sponsor the Estates Based Coaching and Charlton Challenge strands.
“Other strands of work include apprenticeships, training and employment, the women and girls programme, the Youth Achievement Foundation, crime reduction, disability and mental health as well as CACT's advanced academy for promising young prospects.”
Richard concludes that the timing of the partnership agreement is ideal: “We've been working with CACT for a number of years, and achieved a lot together, but both organisations have arrived at a point where they need to kick on. CACT have big ambitions for their youth programmes in and around Thamesmead, and we are eager to prove the success of The Link and Sporting Club Thamesmead. Signing the agreement is really about how we can meet our shared objectives for the local area and demonstrate the difference we hopefully make.”