The Beyond Sport Foundation is a charity which supports inspirational people and projects that are using sport to make positive social change around the world. Since 2009, Beyond Sport has awarded over 150 projects for their social impact through sport.
Beyond Sport hold an annual marquee event: The Beyond Sports Awards, a global awards ceremony supported by Sport Relief. The 2014 winners of the Beyond Sport Team of the Year was Charlton Athletic Community Trust, who were shortlisted on the back of their work in the local community and managed to emerged victorious over renowned competition such as MLB champions San Francisco Giants, the Boston Red Sox, and fellow London organisations Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and Fulham Football Club Foundation.
Player Development Project caught up with the CEO of Charlton Athletic Community Trust, Jason Morgan MBE, to find out more about the work of the Trust that led to their recent award.
PDP: Jason, congratulations on the award. Can you tell us a bit about it?
JM: It was in recognition of what we do collectively through the Trust, so in the application process we talked about all the things we’d done. It’s about what you achieve as a team, in this case as a Community Trust, what impact you make and what tangible results you can show. We’ve had projects running in South Africa, which all contribute, but ultimately it’s about the local community. Our sports team runs through the Community Trust and we were delighted to be recognised as the Sports Team of the Year.
PDP: Were there any standout programs or initiatives?
JM: I think it’s a combination of things. Our work in South Africa has been going on for about a decade and is recognised as best practice, but talking to people at Beyond Sport I think the fact that our projects are sustainable is key. A lot of other organisations are doing reactive projects, but for us this award is recognition for 20 years of community work. It was a combination of things; for example we are the first football club to run the local council’s youth service, which allowed us to have an impact on a range of things from education to driving down crime.
PDP: What are the next big projects for Charlton Athletic Community Trust?
JM: We have new owners at the club and the Community Trust is important for raising our profile as a family orientated, inclusive club. We want to safeguard the projects we’ve got running and ensure they continue
to benefit the community. We are always looking to create new projects and have applied for funding that will allow us to have a greater impact on education and create employment opportunities for young people.
We’re currently involved in a project called ‘Give Youth a Chance’, which creates business and employment opportunities for youngsters with private sector partners. We started this work a couple of months ago and we’ve already got 11 youngsters benefiting from employment opportunities. We tend to look at what the local issues are, the local needs, and be very solution-focused on local problems, whether that’s health, education or employment opportunities. As a result, we look to find partners who fit these objectives.
PDP: How do the players and the first team get involved with the Trust, is it individually or as a team?
JM: It’s a little bit of both actually. We’re based at the training ground so that helps as we have access to players. We get players to help out with filming, and we actually had our ex-Charlton coach, who’s now a club ambassador, head up our stop smoking program recently at The Valley. We had around 500 junior players getting the opportunity to meet players last season. It’s part of what Charlton’s all about – I’ve been here about 20 years and the players have always been very supportive, always talking to the kids, and also Charlton understands what its responsibility is – it’s about putting something back.
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