Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere opened a new Community Art resource at Drayton Park Primary School in Highbury on May 1.
The Morris Art and Community Building, part-funded with a donation from The Arsenal Foundation, will support pupils and parents at the school, which is located a mere stone’s throw from Emirates Stadium. As well as providing a vital new facility for pupils and parents, the centre will also provide local groups and individual artists with a space that they can hire outside of school hours.
"It’s great that The Arsenal Foundation is helping projects like this, which are right on our doorstep"
During his visit to the school, Jack was encouraged to test his own artistic prowess by the pupils, who invited him to paint alongside the school’s ‘house’ captains. Head teacher Damien Parrott then led a guided tour of the new facility and invited Jack to officially open the new building by cutting a ceremonial ribbon.
Creating the new centre has proved to be a real community effort, with a number of local businesses and residents joining The Arsenal Foundation in supporting the fundraising appeal, most notably the Morris Charitable Trust, which gave £50,000.
In addition to the art centre, a new community room and kitchen facility will support community groups and provide space for family learning.
Speaking about his visit, Wilshere said: “It’s always nice to get out in the community and see some of the activity which the Club supports. It’s great that The Arsenal Foundation is helping projects like this, which are right on our doorstep - Emirates Stadium is literally two minutes away. It was fun getting my hands dirty and doing a bit of art with the kids, although I think they were much better than me!”
Cllr Catherine West, leader of Islington Council said: “I am delighted to be at the opening event today. Drayton Park School has done a fantastic job getting the funding for this project and getting the new facility built on time and to budget. It will significantly enhance the community facilities in the local area.”
Damien Parrott, head teacher at Drayton Park School said: “We can now offer enhanced teaching facilities for our own pupils and their families, which will help us achieve our aim of ‘excellence in every way’. But I am excited that we can now offer better facilities to community groups working both with the school and outside school hours which will help us meet the many complex needs of people in our community.”
The Arsenal Foundation supports a range of sport and education projects in the UK and overseas that aim to transform the lives of young people. For more information, visit www.arsenal.com/thearsenalfoundation.
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