Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla joined forces on Thursday to officially open a state-of-the-art health and wellbeing facility for homeless young people in Soho, London.
Centrepoint, the leading youth homelessness charity, were beneficiaries of Arsenal’s charity of the season in 2010/11 as part of the ‘Be a Gooner. Be a Giver’ campaign. It saw supporters, players and staff raise more than £500,000 to refurbish the building that will provide services to help homeless young people get back on their feet and back into society.
The visit comes ahead of Arsenal’s dedicated charity matchday, in which Arsene Wenger and the first-team squad will donate a day’s wages to fund projects which help young people thrive.
The club funded the refurbishment, which created space to include new counselling rooms, a recording studio, main hall, kitchen facilities as well as some much-needed office space for the Centrepoint Health and Wellbeing team. Main contractor 8build, a Centrepoint partner, refurbished the 4,000 square foot building as their ‘giving back project 2014’ at zero profit.
Wojciech Szczesny and Arsenal staff contributed to the refurbishment by completing the paintwork on the exterior walls of the building in Dean Street, Soho.
Balbir Chatrik, Centrepoint director of policy, said: “We can’t thank Arsenal and the club’s fans, players and staff enough for all they’ve done to help us transform the building - where Centrepoint began more than 40 years ago - into a state-of-the-art health and wellbeing centre.
“Ending youth homelessness for the 80,000 who face it every year across the UK is about so much more than providing roofs over heads because all too often having nowhere to call home and nowhere to turn is a scarring experience. More than a third of young people we work with have symptoms of poor mental health, or have a physical health problem.
“Dean Street will be a place for years to come where young people across London can receive the support they need - whether through counselling or learning to eat healthily -to truly leave homelessness behind.”
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