The Premier League released its Creating Chances 2012 report on Thursday, March 21 with Arsenal providing the backdrop for the launch event at London Metropolitan University.
Attended by Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, and Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, Arsenal in the Community coaches delivered a session for Year 5 pupils from Pakeman Primary School in Islington to showcase the type of work that Premier League clubs deliver at their heart of their communities.
"Arsenal in the Community works across the local boroughs of Islington, Camden, Hackney and Westminster and delivers around 230 sessions each week across 87 different venues"
As a department, Arsenal in the Community works across the local boroughs of Islington, Camden, Hackney and Westminster and delivers around 230 sessions each week across 87 different venues, including estates, primary schools and community centres.
The Premier League’s 64-page report highlights some of the projects delivered during 2012 and the difference that football is making to local communities across the country. Over the past year, 843 club projects have been active under the Creating Chances banner, engaging 541,750 individuals in the process. The highest level engagement is among under-18s, who make up 89 per cent of Creating Chances participants. Thirty-four per cent of those engaged are female while 25 per cent are black or minority ethnic.
Richard Scudamore writes in the report: “The Premier League, like most sports bodies, is not a recent convert to the power of our players, clubs and activities to engage. The focus on sport during 2012 has put the role and ability of organisations like us to deliver across a range of areas right back in the centre of the political debate and the public’s mind.
"We are proud of the facilities being built and the practitioners whose drive and professionalism is making a real difference to thousands of young people from all backgrounds throughout the country.”
One of the primary Premier League programmes delivered by Arsenal is Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S), a scheme which encourages thousands of young people to get involved with the eight Olympic sports of badminton, basketball, handball, hockey, judo, netball, table tennis and volleyball, while being given the opportunity to represent their local Premier League club in PL4S tournaments.
"Youngsters absolutely love representing the Club! Wearing the shirt and competing for Arsenal inspires them. They know it’s something that very few people in this world will ever get to do"
Ross McKinley, Arsenal in the Community’s PL4S coordinator features in the report and discusses how the legacy of London 2012 has made a lasting impact locally: “Our [participation] numbers are higher since the Olympics and one of the great things about being a London club is that we can now utilise some London 2012 facilities, such as our hockey hub club, which is based at a fantastic Olympic training pitch in Loughton.
"The competitions have also tapped into something important. Youngsters absolutely love representing the Club! Wearing the shirt and competing for Arsenal inspires them. They know it’s something that very few people in this world will ever get to do.”
Last year also saw Arsenal host the Premier League Schools Tournament – an annual event that saw junior teams representing all 20 Premier League clubs come together at Emirates Stadium.
Verity Whinnerah, PE teacher at St Peter’s Catholic High School, Wigan, who triumphed in the girls competition said: “For all of us, teachers, parents and children, the final at Emirates Stadium was out of this world. I didn’t believe it was possible for children to be so excited! The stadium was a magnificent site, truly awe-inspiring. The girls used the players’ changing rooms and walked out on to the pitch as the professionals would. Their experiences will stay with them forever.”
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