Arsenal worker Luke Howard: Bringing soccer joy to disabled

PUBLISHED: 12:07 05 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:22 05 October 2016

Luke Howard working at Market Road when the redevelopment opened. (Photo: Arsenal Football Club / David Price)

Luke Howard working at Market Road when the redevelopment opened. (Photo: Arsenal Football Club / David Price)


Emma Bartholomew catches up with football-mad Luke Howard, who has just won an award for his work with people with disabilities

International disabled day at The Hub. (Photo: Arsenal Football Club / David Price)International disabled day at The Hub. (Photo: Arsenal Football Club / David Price)

Lifelong Arsenal fan Luke Howard has been football mad since he was a tot – and now he’s able to bring his love for the sport to people who might not usually be able to play.

As Arsenal in the Community’s disability officer, he runs football sessions for people with mental health problems and learning disabilities, amputees, and people who are deaf or blind.

The 24-year-old felt “honoured” to be nominated by a colleague for the “Inclusion Partner of the Year” category at the London FA Awards 2016 – which he won for his “continuous dedication to inclusion”.

Luke, who lives in Archway, where he grew up, went to his first Arsenal match with his dad when he was six.

Luke Howard working with amputees. (Photo: Stuart MacFarlane)Luke Howard working with amputees. (Photo: Stuart MacFarlane)

His dream was to have played soccer professionally for them, but he has now accepted that will never happen.

So landing a full-time job as disability officer five years ago at Arsenal was his way of getting involved with the club, and he felt “overwhelmed, proud and excited” to still be able to represent them.

He knew nothing about working with people with disabilities, and as courses are limited he has learned most of what he now knows on the job.

He has found working with amputees, aged from 18 to 35, “rewarding”.

He said: “There’s no common reason someone becomes an amputee. We have people who have lost limbs in a Middle Eastern war zone, in car crashes, through birth defects. We have someone who was a very good footballer who lost a limb in a bad tackle.

“I feel very proud to see them giving each other support and it’s inspirational to see the best of people in all situations.”

Football sessions for the blind are facilitated by volunteer guides, and adapted equipment includes footballs with bells inside.

Luke admits he has now stopped playing football himself in his spare time.

“If I’m honest it’s too much effort,” he said.

“It’s too much running around. Otherwise I spend all my life doing football.

“I still watch football at Arsenal, though!”

Latest Islington News Stories

Friday, December 7, 2018

Islington became the first council to pass a motion of no confidence in the government’s flagship social welfare reform last night.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Councillors met with pupils from a Finsbury primary school to celebrate a commitment to resettle 100 asylum-seeking children over the next 10 years.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Marks and Spencer’s bid to sell alcohol every day from 8am at a new Archway store has angered police and Islington Council due to the high number of street drinkers in the area – but the shop says it doesn’t stock the kind of booze that attracts alcoholics.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Highbury Leisure Centre is to be partially reopened on Monday – but the building that went up in flames is to be demolished and it’s unknown who will foot the bill for repairs.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Councillors will clash over the best way to influence a Brexit negotiations they have no direct control over at a town hall meeting tonight (Thu).

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Canonbury street artist known as “the man behind the easel” is having his work exhibited – in the local pub.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Police are appealing for the public’s help to find a missing Islington mother.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

More than 50 volunteers scoured the roads of Islington to count rough sleepers and create a “snapshot” of the borough’s street homeless population on Friday.

Promoted Content

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now