‘Next 20’ defender Carl Jenkinson speaks to young people at West Ham Community Day
By John Pownall
West Ham United defender Carl Jenkinson joined Kick It Out in his role as a ‘Next 20’ ambassador for a workshop with young people involved with the West Ham Foundation.
Carl, on loan to the Hammers from Arsenal, joined former Hammer Carlton Cole at West Ham’s community day on Friday 22 May, as they shared their thoughts and experiences on discrimination.
Troy Townsend, Kick it Out’s Education and Development Manager, hosted the session and began by outlining the effects of racism in football and how far Kick it Out has helped in combating discrimination since its inception 20 years ago.
Carl and Carlton then spoke to the young people in attendance about their experiences with discrimination in football. Carl mentioned how he had heard reports from fellow England Under-21 team-mates about incidents of racism that happened during a qualifying match in Serbia in 2012.
Carlton spoke about his own experiences of being racially abused when he played for the England Under-21s while he was a Chelsea player. Both reaffirmed their desire to eradicate discrimination from the sport before the session came to a conclusion.
After the session, Carl conveyed his thoughts on being one of the organisation’s ‘Next 20’ ambassadors.
“The aim of Kick it Out is to raise awareness about discrimination and that it should not be tolerated and I think us talking to them today helps build a relationship. I’ve known about Kick it Out since I was young and it is a cause we can all relate to.
“It was great to be asked to be a ‘Next 20’ ambassador so I’m able to do my part and help when I can. I have to take it upon myself as well as the other 19 ambassadors to spread the message to the best of our ability, which is to help eliminate something that shouldn’t be in the game.”
Troy was also thrilled with how the workshop went: “It was a great occasion for the young people to spend some time with the players and to have their questions answered.
“It is extremely important that our ambassadors, are able to reach their local community on a personal level and I felt that was achieved today through our session with Carl and Carlton.”