Arsenal in the Community has been using the power of the Arsenal name to positively impact the lives of young people since 1985. The team delivers sport, social and education programmes to over 5,000 individuals each week.
Arsenal Football Club was born out of community, when a group of munitions workers formed a football team as light relief from their work in Woolwich, and that deep-rooted connection with the people who live around us has only grown since the club moved to Islington more than a century ago.
As a football club Arsenal exists to perform on the pitch, but community and a sense of social responsibility has been core to what Arsenal Football Club has always stood for – something that has always been central to the organisation’s values, beliefs and purpose. As current-day custodians of these values, staff recognise the weight of this responsibility and the role they play for the future of Arsenal, and the club’s reputation.
Arsenal people are proud of this reputation. Owners, directors, players, staff and fans all feel a huge sense of loyalty and pride belonging to an organisation that has always had a very rich history of purpose and sense of social values.
Leading the way
Unlike all other Premier and Football League clubs, Arsenal has a unique approach to its social commitments. Arsenal in the Community, our delivery team, is a department of Arsenal Football Club, while The Arsenal Foundation, our grant-giving arm, is the club’s independent charity.
The model means we have a workforce that delivers on some of the most challenging societal issues while financially supporting wider social need through-grant giving from The Arsenal Foundation. Both have a local focus on three London boroughs: Islington, where most of the provision is directed, Hackney and Camden.
Being a socially responsible business is not only an expectation these days – it is demanded by a growing number of stakeholders. Among them are the government, local authorities, Premier League, Football Association, media, fans and the general public, with ultimate accountability falling on individual organisations.
In 1985 Arsenal Football Club was the first club in the country to establish a community department. At the time there was no pressure or expectation to do so, but Arsenal felt giving something back to its community was the right thing to do. It was a period when society was experiencing a number of challenges, with youth unrest a problem and youth unemployment rising.
Since that bold decision our community provision has grown and strengthened into something the club, its players, staff and fans can be hugely proud of. For an organisation to own its social responsibility in this unique way is a blueprint for corporate organisations to follow, adding to the many innovative ‘firsts’ where Arsenal have led the way. It is still very unusual for an organisation to invest in and develop a workforce, deploy it into its local community and confront head on some of the most challenging social issues faced in society.
It would have been very easy for Arsenal to financially contribute to a charity and keep its social contributions at arm’s length, but that was never an option for us. This club is about people, and Arsenal people are renowned for maintaining the Arsenal way of doing things, its reputation and what the club stands for.
Football clubs have a natural ability to engage with their communities because clubs hold deep meaning for local people. This emotional connection is the platform that Arsenal uses to engage some of the most disadvantaged in our local society and, in more recent times, from across the world.
How we work
As an established department within the club, we benefit from the support of other departments. Likewise, Arsenal in the Community provides support and resources to other areas of the club.
Based at The Arsenal Hub next to Emirates Stadium, we have a staff team of 26 full-time and more than 50 casual/session workers who provide the management, co-ordination and delivery of a wide range of sport, education, social inclusion and health projects. Many of these initiatives are long-standing and have been at the cutting edge of sports-based interventions in response to central government agendas and local need.
Using the natural connection Arsenal has with communities forms the foundation to sustained engagement. It is through this positive connection that wider support is wrapped around projects, often in direct response to the needs of groups and participants. Partnerships are essential to our model be they strategic, funding, operational or delivery partners.
What you’ll find here
With the introductions done, we would encourage you to explore the other pages within the Arsenal in the Community website. We have a news section about the latest programmes and announcements and a features section with in-depth reads about projects past and present. You will also find an array of case studies from people who have benefitted from and contributed to our work, photo galleries and videos, as well as essential information about The Arsenal Hub, The Arsenal Foundation and our safeguarding work. Thank you for being on board with us.
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