London Sport Awards 2021 nominees: The Young Londoners Award - Charlton Athletic Community Trust
THE Charlton Athletic Community Trust is riding high as the only organisation to receive two nominations for this year’s London Sport Awards.
As well as being nominated for The Elite Sport in the Community Award, the trust has also been recognised in The Young Londoners Award, in association with Sported, for the work it does with children and young adults across south-east London and Kent.
Carl Krauhaus, Head of Early Help and Prevention, is among those whose efforts have been recognised, being involved in projects such as the Charlton Upbeats.
The Upbeats are a team for those with Down’s Syndrome, which trains every Saturday.
Krauhaus, 47, didn’t originally intend to get involved with community projects, but admits he quite quickly realised once joining the club that this was the kind of work he wanted to do.
He said: “I’ve been here 16 years. I joined the trust because I wanted to coach elite football, I wanted to find a way into the academy system through the trust.
“I’d been here about six months when I realised that the community side was where I wanted to be. I was so impressed with the work that we did 16 years ago, which is nothing compared to the amount of work we’re doing now.
“I’ve been here a long time and I love it. I’ve got great colleagues here who are really passionate about what they do. That’s why they’re here, to deliver great work for the community that they live in. I wouldn’t swap it for anything – it’s brilliant.
“To be nominated alone is a real pleasure for us. It’s brilliant for our organisation.”
Over the last five years, the annual London Sport Awards, in association with the City of London Corporation, has grown to become the biggest celebration of grassroots and community physical activity and sport in the city.
And this year’s showpiece event will once again recognise, celebrate, and shine a light on the stories of the incredible individuals, groups and organisations for their outstanding work across the capital helping Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to be physically active.
One of the reasons why the Charlton Athletic Community Trust has been recognised is because of the work they undertook during the pandemic.
Smaller sessions were held whenever possible during restrictions to ensure young people – including members of the Upbeats – could train and socialise, and Krauhaus believes the pandemic highlighted just how vital the trust’s work is.
He said: “I don’t think you realise sometimes until projects are stepped down – obviously with Covid over the last two years, projects have been affected, and that’s when you really see how vital the projects are to the people who attend them and their families.
“The Upbeats in particular is more than a football session. You see the camaraderie among not only the young people, but also the families.
“The organisation as a whole responded brilliantly, but individually within our roles we had projects that were vital to the community we deliver to. We had to find ways, creative ways of keeping them going.
“Some of that was through virtual platforms – there were other projects that couldn’t be delivered virtually so we had to find a safe way to enable our staff to continue.
“I’m really pleased to say that those vital projects continued throughout Covid in a physical sense. We didn’t have to stand down any provisions that meant our families and young people that were in crisis potentially didn’t have them.”
William Ely is among those who attends the weekly Upbeat sessions and credits the training for allowing him to play more football and socialise.
Ely, 24, said: “My favourite thing about the Upbeats is meeting new people and speaking to other people. It’s not about me, it’s all about the others. It’s good because you can actually pass it to someone, an actual person.
“It’s been pouring with rain and I got soaked from being outside, but I just love playing and training with these coaches, doing tournaments. We’ve been to Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Belfast. It’s amazing!”