The Arsenal Foundation’s flagship annual fundraiser, A Night To Inspire, raised a record total of £385,845 at Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening.
Thanks to the generosity of Arsène Wenger, the first-team squad and their guests, money was raised to build three football pitches at community centres in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The project, which will be delivered in partnership with global charity partner Save the Children, will help to protect vulnerable children from abuse and exploitation, and provide mentoring support. It follows on from the success of last year’s auction, which raised funds to build pitches for displaced children in Iraq.
Funds were also raised to help the Arsenal Foundation continue its support for a wide range of local initiatives – from helping to refurbish football pitches in north London to backing arts and community projects close to Emirates Stadium.
What brings the Arsenal Foundation’s local and global work together is the belief that with the right support, young people can thrive.
Generous bids were made on a variety of lots on the night. A private dinner with the manager went for £22,000, a goalkeeping masterclass with Petr Cech raised £4,000, and the opportunity to be in the Arsenal first-team squad picture next season was purchased for £11,000. Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus was booked for an upcoming birthday party for a further £1,000.
On a special night at Emirates Stadium, guests enjoyed a dinner designed by Raymond Blanc and an intimate performance from singer Maverick Sabre. The evening was hosted by popular TV presenter Dermot O'Leary.
The players were also on hand to help with the entertainment. Mikel Arteta, Nacho Monreal, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin played games of table football with the guests. Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud photobombed unsuspecting attendees in a special photobooth and Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson manned a boot room, where signed players’ boots could be bought.