Arsene Wenger opened a new centre in North London, the final stage of the club’s £390 million Emirates project.
The Benwell Road Complex, which will provide 50 hours of community use every week for up to 1,000 locals, features classrooms for education projects run by the club, a pitch that can be used for football or hockey and will help many who suffer from mental illness as well as those on probation and others.
Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker are expected to give language lessons at the centre.
Opened by Arsene Wenger, the boss spoke of his pride regarding the project. “I’m very proud of the positive impact we are able to make,” Wenger said. “The new facility will help us do even more.”
Alan Sefton, who runs the outreach arm of Arsenal in the Community, added “When you see the enthusiasm the participants put into the projects it’s heartening. Not every kid behaves themselves but many come at a low ebb and leave in a much better state.”
The complex marks the final stage of the Emirates move from Highbury which also saw the club construct 3,000 homes, 40% of which were classed as ‘affordable‘ and allows the outreach team to finally have a new base after being without one since 2006.
As the first Premier League club to back ‘London United’, a campaign run by the Evening Standard to train disadvantaged young people, Arsenal have a long tradition of working in the community, much of which goes unreported.