Prestigious business award to Arsenal in the Community for support work with locals

Arsenal BTEC Students at the Emirates Stadium (Pic: Arsenal Football Club/David Price)

Arsenal BTEC Students at the Emirates Stadium (Pic: Arsenal Football Club/David Price) - Credit: Archant

A community programme run by Arsenal Football Club has won a prestigious business award for its work supporting thousands of young Londoners each week.

Arsenal won the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for its Arsenal in the Community programme at the awards evening, one of the UK’s oldest and most distinguished business awards at a ceremony at Mansion House.

The programme runs across Islington, Camden and Hackney, with coaches working with over 5,000 people across 150 venues on a weekly basis.

Using the Arsenal name to inspire young people of all backgrounds, the programme offers support and a sense of belonging and connection to those who need it most through a range of sports, educational, employment, health and social inclusion activities.

Rody Kalume, who has been involved in the project for four years, said: “Arsenal Kicks is football, but it also helps you outside of football, like if you are going down the wrong path off the pitch they help guide you down the right path.

“Arsenal Kicks does a lot for anyone that needs help, I don’t think I know anyone who does Arsenal Kicks who is not involved in something extra and if they are not involved in any other projects then nine times out of 10 they can go to any staff member and they will get them into something. So it’s more than just football.

“The Kicks staff have helped me a lot, for example if they know that I’m not in education then they call me in and take me down to the Hub.

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“We might go for something to eat and talk about what opportunities there are going on and then show me how I can get involved.”

The Lord Mayor’s Award is for businesses that have shown a long-term, sustainable commitment of at least five years to a wide-ranging programme of community engagement in London.

AITC, the community arm of Arsenal FC, has supported over one million local young people since it was established in 1985, working in partnership with local councils, businesses and voluntary sector partners.

Since 1985, 1,000 young people have also progressed through its trainee programme and its employability initiatives have led to 133 people moving on to paid employment through referrals.