The Arsenal Foundation has helped to fund a joint project between Arsenal in the Community and Freedom from Torture that uses football as a therapeutic tool.

The unique collaboration offers clients from the local charity weekly Arsenal ESOL (English for speakers of other Languages) workshops, delivered by Arsenal in the Community staff using a similar approach to the popular Double Club model to develop confidence as well as language and social skills within the participants. The material is delivered in a class room setting and has ranged from Arsenal themed resources to healthy eating, travelling in London and recycling.

When I came here, it was the only place where I wasn’t talking about my story.

In April 2012, A Football Activity Group, run by Arsenal in the Community coaches and Freedom from Torture's group therapist, Selcuk Berilgen, was set up to deliver football sessions together to a group of between 10-15 clients who meet once a week for football training in Elthorne Park, Islington. The group comes from countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkey, Sierra Leone, Iran, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and Eritrea.

 One of the scheme’s participants, Ismail, is full of praise for the work being delivered by the Club:

 “When I came here [to the football sessions], it was the only place where I wasn’t talking about my story. When I leave here, I can’t wait until next Monday. We’re like one big family.”

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20 May 2013