Over the course of the 2023/24 season we will hear from a wide range of local people who have benefitted from Arsenal in the Community projects. Here we find out how 11-year-old Sunny has grown on and off the pitch from taking part in our Premier League Kicks accessible drop-in sessions.
Project: Premier League Kicks accessible drop-in sessions
Available to: Primary school children with accessible needs (5-11)
Location: Fridays at The Arsenal Hub, 5-6pm
As we celebrate International Week of the Deaf, we’ve decided to spotlight one of our brilliant participants, Sunny.
The 11-year-old local lad is autistic and deaf and a regular participant in our Accessible Premier League Kicks drop-in sessions, which he’s found hugely beneficial in so many ways. We asked Sunny’s mother for her perspective on his growth and development.
“We heard about this special session with Luke Howard from Laycock Primary School, where Sunny had enjoyed a similar session.
“Sunny has complex additional needs – he feels overwhelmed and excited to watch a big match in the stadium, for example – and after attending his regular sessions for many years, I feel he is much more confident and he is more flexible to cope with challenging situations.
“The coaches from Arsenal in the Community are always friendly, professional and helpful. We feel lucky that we are able to take part in sessions run by them – it makes such a difference to Sunny. Luke is the person we have dealt with the most and he is very friendly, motivated and professional. Every child and parent loves working with him. Furthermore, other coaches such as Oliver and Daisy are equally as good at managing children.
“We’ve now been fortunate enough to watch Premier League matches at Emirates Stadium, played on the Emirates pitch, received generous gifts from the staff at Arsenal in the Community and Sunny has also made lots of amazing friends. It has been very important because he has developed his skills in communication and social interaction as well as becoming more confident. It has changed Sunny so much in a positive way. He loves football and he really enjoys attending the sessions on Fridays.
“As his mother, I can’t believe how passionate Sunny is now about football. He reads the news every day, he wants to get involved and take part in everything he can get his hands on. It’s amazing to see how knowledge of the game and his confidence have grown.
“Given that Sunny is a child with complex additional needs, it’s a huge challenge to fulfil a usual daily life. However, the development and the skills through being with Arsenal in the Community have allowed him to cope with his life smoothly and peacefully. His social behaviours are improving and he’s shown positive progress in all walks of his life. I know Sunny will grow into a better person each day he attends the sessions.
“Being a part of Arsenal is special and we always feel lucky to take part in their events. Sunny feels very proud to represent the badge. We meet a lot of parents with children like Sunny and it’s encouraging to connect and give advice to one another.
“We would definitely encourage anyone to take part in these activities because they are designed to help children develop and increase their confidence. Arsenal do a great job in ensuring that there is a session for everyone, regardless of what condition or needs they may have.”
For more information email accessibility coordinator Luke Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org
International Week Of The Deaf
International Week of the Deaf is an initiative of the WFD (World Federation of the Deaf) and was first launched in 1958 in Rome, Italy. It is celebrated annually by the global deaf community on the last week of September each year to commemorate the same month the first World Congress of the WFD was held. International Week of the Deaf is celebrated through various activities by the respective deaf communities worldwide.
The activities call for participation and involvements of various stakeholders including families, peers, governmental bodies, professional sign language interpreters and organisations of persons with disabilities.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.