Arsenal Football Club has always had community at its heart and in 2013 celebrates 100 years in the Borough of Islington.
As well as its charitable endeavours, The Arsenal Foundation supports an array of good causes in the community, providing practical and financial support to a number of initiatives in the local boroughs of Islington, Camden, Westminster and Hackney.
Gunners Hockey Programme
One of the first schemes to sit under Arsenal in the Community, the Gunners Hockey programme has been running for more than a quarter of a century and over this time has introduced more than 15,000 inner city children to hockey via a structured programme.
For the past two decades, Arsenal has had in its own team competing in the London Hockey League Division 5, linked to parent club Old Loughtonians Hockey Club, the largest club side in the East of England. The club has worked with Arsenal in the Community since 1991/2 when the Gunners team was formed. The Gunners are the most successful side in the club winning no less than six league titles and a number of cups.
The Gunners pioneered the way youth hockey should be developed and have provided numerous graduates to the Old Loughtonians first team, including Warren D'Souza, John Brown and Darren Cheesman, a current England and Great Britain international.
The current 6-10 week coaching programme provides youngsters from all backgrounds with the opportunity to develop a sustained involvement in the sport, while the addition of hockey to the Premier League 4 Sport programme has further aided participation.
Thanks to a donation from The Arsenal Foundation, the programme will be able to thrive for a number of years to come by funding additional coaching sessions for the Gunners squad, new equipment for the team and staffing and travel costs for matches
Local Pitch Upgrades
Since 2006, Arsenal has contributed more than £750,000 towards the upgrade of six local football pitches.
Earlier in the year, Kieran Gibbs visited the Rowley Way Estate in Camden to officially open a new 3G astroturfed site, complete with floodlights, which replaced the estate’s old concrete court.
This followed a similar opening at the Suffolk Estate in Hackney, an area long blighted by gangs and antisocial behaviour. As part of the construction of the new facility, which saw old metal goal and basketball posts removed, local youngsters were given a positive focus by helping to produce bespoke graffiti artwork around a new brick wall around the sides of the pitch
A number of other sites have been identified for funding over the coming months, which will enable local youngsters to benefit state-of-the-art refurbished facilities offering a safe and enjoyable place to play.
The Gunners Fund
Launching in early 2013, the Gunners Fund will make small grants to local charities based in Islington, Hackney and Camden from an annual fund, with projects chosen by a committee including Arsenal staff and supporters.
For more information and details on how to apply for a grant, click here.Copyright 2013 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 5 Feb 2013