Arsenal in the Community

“I couldn’t find the words to express my feelings”

Taylor is 14 and from Hackney. He has been part of our Advantage Mentoring Programme for six months. The project works with young people, providing key interventions and assistance to support their aspirations.

“I heard of the scheme through school and it was also recommended by a forum known as Young Hackney. I was aware of the football sessions delivered by Arsenal in the Community at The Hub and in various parts of my borough.

“This was something that I opted to do. At that time I was struggling with my mental health a bit but I couldn’t find the words to express my feelings or emotions.

“My first session was online during lockdown and after a couple of sessions I started to feel very confident in expressing myself. I have particularly enjoyed the weekly football sessions. I’m still trying to work on my friendships within the group, but my mentors, Luke Howard and Jack Ferguson, were incredibly supportive and encouraged me to stick to my set goals.

“The scheme has massively impacted me positively because of the incredible support that I have received through school and now Arsenal. The new skills that I have learned were to speak about my emotions and get along with new people in my life – these were things I knew needed addressing before attending.

“I’ve tried to bring the skills I’ve learned into my life away from Arsenal. I know there’s still work to do on confidence with socialising but there’s definitely an improvement. I’ve been surprised with my attitude – I thought I would abandon the project after a couple of months because my previous sessions were quite boring.

“Being part of Arsenal means a lot to me as I grew up with my father’s side of the family, who are all Arsenal supporters. They know I attend Arsenal sessions and I can get along with them because football is a common interest.

“I would highly encourage others to join the scheme or something similar because it can boost your mental health. This scheme has changed me massively and I would really recommend it to others because of the advantages, opportunities and support it offers.” 

Jack Ferguson, Education & Employment, says: “We are very proud of Taylor’s approach while with us. His motivation and engagement have been excellent throughout. He has helped shape a comfortable environment in which he is striving to meet his set goals.”

For more info on the Advantage Mentoring Programme email Jack at jferguson@arsenal.co.uk

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