Save The Children and Club empower parents
Two local schools in Islington are enjoying the benefits of Arsenal Football Club’s global charity partnership with Save the Children, after the Club and charity combined to set up a programme in each school that empowers parents to build stronger relationships with their children.
Supported by a donation of more than £50,000 from The Arsenal Foundation, Duncombe Primary School and St. Mark’s Primary School, both in Islington, embarked on an eight-week programme called Families and Schools Together (FAST). FAST enables parents to develop the skills and confidence they need to better support and take a more active role in their children’s education, while playing a greater role in their community.
In order to deliver the programme, Save the Children has worked to create a team of FAST ‘practitioners’ at each school, comprising local parents, community leaders, school staff and local authority staff. These teams have then helped to deliver a series of weekly sessions, during which a selected group of families have taken part in practical and fun activities, designed to improve children’s wellbeing and help develop their relationships.
To celebrate both schools coming to the end of their respective programmes, graduation ceremonies were held to recognise the achievements of all participants. Members of Arsenal staff have also been given the opportunity in recent weeks to visit the schools and experience FAST first-hand.
Speaking about the positive impact of FAST at Duncombe Primary School, headteacher Barrie O'Shea said: "I'm enormously grateful to the parents for coming back to FAST week after week and supporting their children in the programme. Without a doubt, FAST has had a positive effect on those families who have attended over the past eight weeks and we at Duncombe look forward to taking part in the programme again. I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Save the Children and Arsenal for making it all happen.”
Mrs Dina Hantour, one of the mothers to successfully complete the FAST programme at Duncombe, added: "The best thing about FAST has been being able to spend time with my children outside of our home. I'm so busy at home, and when we are at FAST I know I have two hours to be with my children and enjoy our time together. My children have taken what they have learned at FAST home with them."
Calvin Henry, executive headteacher at St Marks CE Primary School, has also seen the benefit of FAST on his pupils and parents. “We greatly appreciate the work that FAST has been able to do, supporting us to provide effective links between home and school. It has been hugely beneficial, notably for many of our children who have enjoyed working alongside their parents when taking part in creative and stimulating activities,” he said.
Arsenal’s global charity partnership with Save the Children is about to enter its second year and in addition to its UK programmes, is also supporting an exciting overseas project in China. This will see the Club pledge £300,000 over three years to help dramatically improve the quality of education of disadvantaged children aged six to 15 in some of Beijing’s most under-resourced schools.
To find out more about the work of The Arsenal Foundation, visit www.arsenal.com/thearsenalfoundation.