Arsenal in the Community

Lotte Wubben-Moy on her big passion

Arsenal in the Community Lotte Wubben-Moy

“I’d like to tell you about something that means quite a lot to me. When it came to signing my contract extension with Arsenal back in 2022, I wanted the club to make a commitment to run an Arsenal in the Community programme in my name. 

“It will come as no surprise to you that I played a lot of football growing up, but I also enjoyed exploring other things too. I’d spend hours sat with pens and paper doodling, dressing myself in mad fabrics at the textile workshops my mum hosted, and losing myself in the wood shavings my dad’s furniture workshop had discarded. I look back with great fondness at my childhood, seeing now how much importance my parents put on growth through curiosity, freedom and exploration.

“Today I hold those same values at the forefront of my Arsenal in the Community programme, Time to Explore, a project that I’d like to share with you...

“When I signed my most recent Arsenal contract, the paperwork went through all the usual checks in football operations, but ultimately landed for final approval on the desk of the unassuming Freddie Hudson. I wanted a commitment included from the club to run a community project in my name for the duration of the contract. Freddie, head of Arsenal In the Community, was who we needed on board for this to have lift-off.

“Almost two years on, Time to Explore, my very own community programme, is in full flow. Built on providing 15 to 16-year-old girls the space to express themselves through football, the arts, and writing, we bring in guest lecturers and specialists to run workshops that introduce new and exciting subjects to the group. So far the programme participants have delved into sustainability, spoken word, poetry, sewing, backstitching, glazing, recording music and more, with each session perfectly rounded off on the football pitch, where artistic expression hits full fruition. 

“The idea is for the girls to get stuck in, take themselves out of their comfort zone and see what puts a new and unexpected smile on their face.

“From the start of the programme, it was important for me that attendance was free – no strings attached. On top of that, all the girls involved were to be from Islington, Hackney or Camden, the main London Boroughs where Arsenal as a club is active. I liked the idea of it taking them only a handful of minutes on a Tuesday evening after school to walk to the Emirates, delve into the guts of the stadium, and find themselves at the doors of The Arsenal Hub ready for the session to commence. 

“I wanted them to come somewhere I knew they’d be greeted by the smiles of Arsenal in the Community workers buzzing around, making them feel immediately at home, Arsenal fan or not.

Arsenal in the Community Lotte Wubben-Moy

Lotte’s dedication to Arsenal in the Community is not about seeking recognition – it comes from her upbringing and it’s something deep inside her that strengthens her bond with the club she loves

“I try to join the girls for every session – I head to The Arsenal Hub straight from the training ground and arrive to the usual shower of questions: “Are you tired from training?” “Who’s your best friend at Arsenal?” “What is Beth Mead like?” “Did you score today?” I respond back with, “Let’s not speak about football today! Show me what kind of art we’re doing instead!” After a few minutes of football chat, it then doesn’t take much encouragement to dive into the workshop of the day. What a dream.

“I try to get involved in the workshops knowing I will soon find myself transported back to afternoons at the dinner table with a pen and paper. I think being able to share this common ground with the girls involved in the programme has helped me connect with them on a deeper level, with some more open to share their stories than others. I’ll never forget being welcomed into the “what colour to paint my nails” and “which jeans to wear” conversation. Non-school uniform being a hot topic, of course.

“I don’t feel so far removed from where these young girls are in their lives, albeit I’m 25. I still feel as if I am learning, exploring, and discovering new things about myself every day too. I’ve learned most about life with a ball at my feet but some of my greatest moments on the pitch have been thanks to what I have learned off the pitch.

“Watching these girls try new things, I’ve got to be honest and say that it’s selfishly quite fulfilling for me! Whether they love it, whether they are good at it or not, it has opened their eyes to something in a new light and it’s something that maybe they’ve never been exposed to before. I think that allows them to think in a different way and you can’t underestimate the power of that. 

“One young girl, Florence, has been introduced to the Arsenal Women’s Academy since her involvement with Time to Explore after I spotted how skilful she was. Who knows, we may even have an artist, singer or footballer flourish from and beyond the programme in years to come.

“Being able to attend these sessions and see the work that we’re doing is something that makes me incredibly proud. My life and passions have always extended beyond just football, and I’m extremely grateful to the club for being so understanding of who I am as a person and what’s important to me, and for giving me the space to express myself – a space I am now trying to create for all the young girls who are part of my programme. 

“I also want to give a special note of thanks to everyone who has been involved in making the programme happen – I was determined to do it, but I couldn’t have done it on my own. 

“Here’s to more Time to Explore.”

Arsenal in the Community Lotte Wubben-Moy

Lotte’s Time to Explore programme is, crucially, free for girls to attend at The Arsenal Hub, and Lotte makes it to as many sessions as possible

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