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Arsenal v Stoke: Islington set for £250k windfall from charity matchday

PUBLISHED: 12:52 09 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:52 09 December 2016

Joshua Campbell, a beneficiary from Arsenal in the Community's work in the Elthorne Estate. Picture: Arsenal FC

Joshua Campbell, a beneficiary from Arsenal in the Community's work in the Elthorne Estate. Picture: Arsenal FC

Archant

Arsenal’s last game before Christmas can only mean one thing: a big fat cash injection for Islington.

Joshua Campbell with club photographer Stuart McFarlane on an Arsenal in the Community course. Picture: Arsenal FCJoshua Campbell with club photographer Stuart McFarlane on an Arsenal in the Community course. Picture: Arsenal FC

Every year, the club’s “charity matchday” sees players donate a day’s wage towards Arsenal’s stellar community work in the borough.

The Emirates Stadium game against Stoke tomorrow is expected to at least equal the £250,000 raised at last year’s charity matchday against Manchester City.

Josh Campbell, who grew up on the Elthorne Estate in Hornsey Rise, credits the Arsenal in the Community programme with helping change his life.

As a teenager, he played football with the club’s “Kicks” programme, designed to keep young people out of trouble.

It was through this network Josh took park in club schemes such as a photography programme in which he travelled to the Rio Olympics and mentored kids in the favelas.

It also opened the door to Ambitious Academy – a project he is co-leading that offers “alterantive and credible” education to youngters in Elthorne.

Speaking to the Gazette at the Arsenal Hub, the 25-year-old says: “I’ll be totally honest, 90 per cent of people I grew up with have been to prison or lived that kind of life. People don’t have that ambition to think long-term and legitimate. For many, it’s about the fast money to get a £300 pair of trainers.

“A lot of it is mentality, passed down from older to younger generations, but also because opportunities aren’t there. I was lucky to get involved with Arsenal.

“I saw space for a charity in the estate. Too many kids strive for negative stuff, like drugs. You never hear positive stuff.”

Josh, a lorry driver, hopes to go full-time with the project next year, when the academy will apply for charity status.

He adds: “There’s a lot of untapped talent in the estate, but not enough networks. That’s the purpose of our charity, to provide a platform for experiences like I had.”

Of tomorrow’s charity matchday, he adds: “The money isn’t that much for the players, but it’s the thought that counts. It’s not as if they have to. Nothing is too little.”


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