Wednesday 11th July 2018
Members of Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT)’s Charlton Upbeats Down’s syndrome team, Billy Birchmore and William Ely, have just completed their respective work experience placements with CACT.
Billy started working with CACT three years ago, once a week on Fridays. His tasks around the office varied from tidying the 3G pitches and shredding papers to tidying stockrooms.
Occasionally, Billy also helped with a lunchtime club, where he and CACT Disability & Mental Health Officer Steve Bannan set up sporting equipment and engaged with children who have special needs.
Billy also worked alongside CACT colleagues Terry Peart and Carl Krauhaus on the Up & At ‘Em programme the organisation delivers in partnership with Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust. Billy would be given a number of tasks when working on the programme, such as setting up sport sessions, engaging with clients and assisting them on and off buses.
Reflecting on his time working on the Up & At ‘Em programme, Billy said: “I liked it, it was good to talk to the older people.”
As well as working on Up & At ‘Em, Billy is a national swimming champion, winning eight gold medals in the Down’s syndrome International Swimming Organisation European Championships in November. In April, he took on two Charlton Athletic first-team players.
“I raced against Josh Magennis and Jake Forster-Caskey. I won!” Billy explained.
Alongside his swimming accomplishments, Billy plays football for the Charlton Upbeats. At the end of June, the Upbeats won their eighth DS Active National Tournament, their seventh consecutive title.
“I found that really amazing,” Billy explained. “We won three, lost two and drew one in Belfast and when we went to Birmingham we won the whole thing! I love playing football,” Billy added.
As Billy’s confidence grew over the three years with CACT, at the end of his placement he made the journey home from Charlton Athletic’s Sparrows Lane training ground unaided.
After three years with CACT, sadly Billy’s time has come to an end. However, things are looking bright for his future as he is going to become an employment intern. With the experience he gained from working with CACT, Billy is going to deliver sports activities in a primary school twice a week.
William started his spell of work experience two years ago, and he had similar roles to Billy around the office and the training ground. William would join on a Tuesday and worked alongside Terry and Carl on a Kent Mental Health Project, where his duties would include setting up sessions and engaging with clients.
Speaking about his time working at CACT, William said: “I enjoyed it a lot. One of my favourite memories is when we went to climb the O2.
“I’ve loved working with Terry, Carl and Steve,” he added.
Looking ahead, William has his ambitions set on working in the hospitality sector, explaining: “I want to be in the pub trade so I can own a bar.”
Describing his time at CACT, William said he “loved it.”
Terry Peart, CACT’s Disability and Mental Health Officer, said:
“Both lads were a pleasure to have around the office and working with myself and Carl. Hopefully they can take the skills they learned into the next step of their future.”
Everyone at CACT would like to wish Billy and William the best of luck for the future.