Arsenal Football Club has always had community at its heart and celebrates 100 years in the Borough of Islington during 2013/14.
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.
In September 2013, to mark the 100 year anniversary of Arsenal’s move to the Borough of Islington, the Club announced a donation of £150,000 over three years to Islington Giving – a local organisation that invites residents and businesses to give what they can, be it money or time, to make a difference to the community.
The partnership will enable the Foundation to support Islington Giving in its efforts to address social isolation and unlock opportunities for individuals in the local community through sports, leisure and active lifestyles, including a youth engagement project delivering structured football activities on Friday evenings for young people at venues across the borough.
Director of Islington Giving, Kristina Glenn, said: “It seems only natural that we should partner with Arsenal and with our shared passion for the borough, we’re excited about what we will be able to achieve together. The donation also means that Islington Giving has now raised over £2m for Islington – a great achievement and we are incredibly grateful to Arsenal for their commitment to our campaign.”
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.
In 2012, 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.
Other sites to have benefited include Torriano Junior School in Kentish Town, where a donation has helped to resurface the school sports pitch and provide new goal posts, subsequently increasing the provision for inter-school sports events and competitions and providing a much improved facility for the local community.
Further sites have been identified for funding over the coming months, which will enable more local youngsters to benefit from state-of-the-art facilities offering a safe and enjoyable place to play.
British Wheelchair Sports Foundation
With a donation of £5,000, The Arsenal Foundation is helping to increase participation in disabled sport amongst people living in the Host Boroughs of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The project will introduce a range of different sports each year to 250 children and 150 adults, all of whom have a physical, sensory, learning, medical or mental disability.
The funding from The Arsenal Foundation is helping to facilitate the recruitment of a dedicated Project Officer responsible for administering events and connecting with Local Authority teams within the Boroughs.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 5 Feb 2013