Arsenal in the Community

In focus: Crisis at Christmas

Crisis At Christmas Arsenal in the Community

Over the course of the 2022/23 season we will hear from a wide range of local people who have benefitted from Arsenal in the Community projects. Here we find out more about how our work with Crisis helps people taking their first steps out of homelessness enjoy Christmas.

Project: Crisis at Christmas

Established: September 2013

Participants since starting: 1,000-plus

Sessions: Christmas day

Over the past nine years this has included arranging donations, providing match tickets, delivering training sessions and hosting an annual football tournament for people experiencing homelessness at Christmas.

Ian Richards, Head of Christmas at Crisis, says, “Arsenal in the Community’s Assist programme has become a highlight for many of our Crisis at Christmas guests who are taking their first steps out of homelessness. The quality football training helps restore confidence, dignity and motivation and the inter-centre football tournament takes our centres by storm with volunteers, staff and guests going wild each time their team wins. Being part of a team does wonders for our guests – they gain a sense of belonging, build trust, and forge lasting friendships.

“We are thrilled that after two difficult years the tournament is back, and Arsenal will be providing coaching for guests at our Camden Day Centre as well as hosting the tournament. Arsenal have also very kindly offered tickets to 15 guests for the West Ham game. Thank you for all you do to support people experiencing homelessness in your local community.”

Luke Howard, Arsenal in the Community Accessibility Co-ordinator, says, “Over the last nine years I have seen our relationship with Crisis evolve, working in partnership to look at where we can be most supportive and learning from volunteers and guests about how we can be better. The programme is highly valued by staff and it’s a source of great pride that the club provides this support.”

One of our Crisis guests says, “A lot of people who are here are lonely at Christmas – they have no family. And to have this week, bringing everyone together, creates a nice community. Any issues we have we help each other with, we give that support to each other.”

Another Crisis guest says, “No one deserves to be homeless. No one – do you know what we mean? We are all human beings.”

Crisis is the national charity for people experiencing homelessness. This year we’ve seen the impact of the cost-of-living crisis in our year-round services where we support people struggling with unaffordable housing and other living costs. Once again, we’re standing with people facing homelessness this Christmas. At this time and throughout the year, we help people directly out of homelessness and campaign for the social changes needed to solve it altogether.

Every Christmas we mobilise a unique volunteering effort to provide warmth, companionship, and vital services to people facing homelessness at one of the toughest times of the year.

For more information please visit

For more information on our work with Crisis email Luke Howard at

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