The No More Red initiative launched in January 2022 with adidas to support the long-standing work being done by Arsenal in the Community to keep young people safe from knife crime and youth violence.
Within that, one of the aims was to spotlight the work of young people who have made a positive difference – and at the Fulham match Aron and Verona became the latest recipients of our special No More Red shirts.
Aron is a boxing and MMA personal trainer who is part of the NMR collective. He aspires to own his own gym, and his training philosophy mixes intense workouts, fighting techniques and mindfulness. Aron works with young people within his community and, through No More Red, we are working with adidas to connect Aron with boxing talent such as Anthony Yarde and trainer Tunde Ajayi, who have provided tips and advice to help him in his future career.
Verona is a Camden resident who has been involved in Arsenal in the Community programmes for over six years. Having taken part in our girls’ football programme and then completed a two-year BTEC course with us at The Arsenal Hub, Verona has since gone on to begin a career as an artist.
She reflects her views on society through art and also designed the cover of our matchday programme for our Premier League match against Burnley last season. Those who have followed the No More Red campaign will also recognise Verona from the launch last year.
At the Aston Villa game we celebrated Abigail and Joseph. Abigail has been an inspiration to Goodinge Community Centre, and having overcome challenges within the community growing up she now aims to help others. From a young age she has helped to run local community drama sessions for young people, and she encourages youngsters to participate in shows for local residents. Abigail has been dedicating her time to help at a local lunch club for older people in the area, as well as organising other activities that bring different groups of people together on a regular basis. She is passionate about people’s wellbeing and uses her own personal experiences to help them overcome their own challenges.
Joseph has lived in Islington all his life and now works for the local council, representing all young people across the borough. At the start of the pandemic, with all the uncertainties it gave to many, Joseph put himself forward to work on the council’s food distribution centre.
He showed tremendous passion towards supporting others and his work ethic eventually led him to running the food distribution centre, working with key partners such as Arsenal and his church. Having initially joined the council as an apprentice, Joseph is seen as a role model to others in the community. He has joined the council’s mentorship programme and now mentors other apprentices across Islington Council to support other young people in achieving their goals. He regularly attends schools to share his journey, inspires youngsters to believe that anything is possible and helps support other young people gain confidence.
Finally – for now – at the north London derby we celebrated the achievements of Sanchez and Thara.
Sanchez is an Islington resident who has been a participant on our Kicks project for the past five years. Having joined the programme at the age of 13, Sanchez overcame his shyness and immediately showed an interest in helping staff. He completed his FA Junior Football Leaders course at the age of 14 so that he could learn the basics of football coaching and a year later joined the Arsenal Ball Squad. Due to Covid disruptions he then spent three seasons as part of the Ball Squad, demonstrating outstanding commitment. Following his final season in that role Sanchez joined the Arsenal Venue team, helping to set up the stadium on matchdays, and he recently joined our Community team as a Sessional Worker on a number of our local initiatives.
Finally Thara is passionate about football and has taken part in a number of Arsenal in the Community projects over the past three years. She didn’t have much football experience prior to joining our girls’ Kicks programme, however she quickly became an important member of the group through regular participation, encouraging other girls to join the programme and demonstrating excellent leadership skills. Thara is now playing for a local team in Hackney and attends a sports college as she pursues a career in the industry.
Well done to all six of our inspirational youngsters, and long may their great work continue.
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