Islington Giving and the Arsenal Foundation linked up last year to celebrate 100 years of Arsenal in the borough. Friday Night Out is the first project from this partnership and aims to develop opportunities for young people at the start of the weekend.
Arsenal in the Community runs football sessions in Kings Cross before the young people go to Global Generation’s Skip Garden next door to prepare and eat a healthy dinner together. Here, two of the participants tell us what’s so good about it.
Kieran Heelan-Huxford, aged 12
“I saw a leaflet about Friday Night Out and went, on my own at first but then with a group of new friends, because I love football. I attend Highbury Grove School and play in the school team, and although I like swimming and basketball too football is my favourite sport.
“The Friday night sessions are fun because we mainly play matches rather than do too much training. Dylan, the coach, is really good, and he has helped me get better with my left foot and my accuracy, both in shooting and passing. But I think the highlight for me has been to get praise for playing well.
“The Skip Garden is fun, too. Today I was peeling carrots for salad and previously I’ve made vegetable soup, chutney and popcorn. I like the salads and the popcorn was OK, but the chutney was a bit strange!
“I already play for a football team and I’ve done some cooking at home with my mum, but Friday Night Out has encouraged me to do more of both – and even better, I’ve got to know the girls who come to cooking session!”
Said Sharif, aged 10
“I found out about the Friday Night session from a friend and it seemed like a good way to get out of the house and play more football. I go to Argyle Primary School and like hockey, tennis and basketball, but I’m in the school football team and love playing.
“Friday Night Out has been great because the coaches like Frank and Dylan are both very encouraging and supportive for someone like me, who’s playing with bigger lads.
“The Skip Garden is interesting because we do healthy cooking, and eat food that footballers have in their diets. Although today we were making scones, we’ve also made pizzas, pasta, popcorn and cheesecake. The pizza and cheesecake were good! It’s been good to learn new recipes and about different food.
“At home I only really make breakfast and help chop up food – and eat! I’ve made new friends, especially doing the Halloween pumpkin, and got to play more football, so the highlight for me has been... all of it. It’s brilliant.”
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