Over the summer, Arsenal in the Community has been working on an exciting pilot programme in conjunction with the Homeless FA, the national partner for the annual Homeless World Cup.

Together with fellow community departments from Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Everton, Arsenal in the Community delivered a five-day programme of specially-planned sessions for homeless men and women from London and the South East.

The participants were fighting it out for the honour of representing England at this year’s Homeless World Cup tournament in Mexico City, taking place between 4-15 October 2012.

The players came from many projects in the Homeless FA’s community, including Arsenal’s 2010/11 Charity of the Season, Centrepoint. In addition to football coaching, the groups took part in courses to aid their personal development, such as employability skills, first aid and time management.

Those individuals that had progressed well, based on commitment and attitude, were invited to a special ‘Team England’ day at Carrington and Old Trafford with Manchester United on September 5. From that the World Cup squads for both the men’s and women’s sides were selected.

After a rigorous selection process, no fewer than six individuals that had taken part in the Arsenal scheme were picked for England duty. Aaron Ranieri, Marco Ramos and Billy Wise were all called up to the eight-man squad, while Mauva Hunte-Bowlby, Jodie Osborne and Rosie Martin were chosen for the women’s team. It is the first time that England will have entered a women’s team in the tournament.

Arsenal in the Community will continue to link in with all programme participants over the coming weeks and months with a view to helping them gain employment with the Club’s stadium catering providers, Delaware North Companies. The Club will also offer them the chance to take part in other training, education and volunteering opportunities.

Arsenal Football Club thanks all participants for their involvement and wishes those selected the best of luck at next month’s tournament. For more information on the Homeless FA, and to follow Team England’s progress in Mexico, visit www.homelessfa.org.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 18 Sep 2012