Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn helped to open a new all-weather astro-turf pitch at Hargrave Park School, Islington, this week.
The pitch is the first of many surfaces being refurbished off the back of our Legends game against AC Milan at Emirates Stadium last September, which helped to raise £1m for The Arsenal Foundation.
The money is being used to build football pitches for schools and community groups across north London. It will also fund the construction of new playing surfaces for children in Somalia and Jordan with our global charity partner Save the Children.
Nigel, who returned to Arsenal's back four for the Legends game, paid a visit to Hargrave School to see how the funds from the game are being used.
He joined children on the new pitch for a small-sided game, met parents and helped head teacher Lisa Horton with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Nigel said of the pitch: “Getting back with my old team mates for the Legends match was a special experience. Even more so, when you see how the money that was raised is going make a real difference to young children in north London and overseas.
"The kids at Hargrave School were playing on a bumpy and uneven surface before, and now they’ve got a brand new astro-turf surface to have fun on and play.
"Arsenal always believed in being part of the community when I was playing and it’s great to see that feeling’s just as strong today. I’m proud to have played my small part in contributing to that.”
Arsenal’s relationship with Hargrave Park School - like so many schools in our local borough - goes back some way as the club’s community department has provided after-school football coaching and teaching using the Arsenal Double Club, which uses Arsenal and football-based resources to help children with their numeracy and literacy learning.
Hargrave head teacher Ms. Horton said: “We work really hard to get a good quality environment for the children and the new playing surface has really helped to drive the push for our pupils to get involved with sport.
"Arsenal are key part of our local community and it’s fantastic to have their support here – not just with building the pitch but with the football and education sessions the Arsenal in the Community team deliver on the pitch each week.”