Arsenal in the Community on our collaboration to promote positive mental health among young people

This type of partnership approach to supporting the community is invaluable and, in our experience, the most effective programmes have been those with like-minded organisations coming together to support a local need.

For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re highlighting our collaboration with Brandon Centre and Arsenal in the Community to promote positive mental health among our young people. To explore this further, we spoke to Jack Ironside, Senior Manager for Social Inclusion at Arsenal in the Community, and Samir Singh, Community Development Officer at Arsenal in the Community.  

Arsenal Girls Kicks

Why do you value our work with Brandon Centre, including Brandon Connect and the Arsenal Girls Kicks Programme? 

Jack: Young people face a wide range of challenges, and we recognise that these can have a negative impact on their mental health. Arsenal in the Community deliver a wide range of programmes working towards achieving a variety of different social outcomes. Our staff are well trained within their own project areas including qualified teachers, football coaches and youth workers. However, we rely heavily on working with local partners who can provide specialist support to our participants depending on their needs.  

Research has shown that there is a significant drop off in female participation in sport as girls go through their teenage years Through having the support of the Brandon Centre staff at our sessions, the girls are provided support around any issues or anxieties that they may be experiencing.

The counselling service at the Hub have engaged a significant number of Arsenal in the Community participants who have experienced a wide range of issues which have impacted their mental health. Having the service based at the Hub allows young people who may face challenges accessing support otherwise, to receive the help that they need.  

The Girls Kicks partnership has been extremely exciting and successful. Research has shown that there is a significant drop off in female participation in sport as girls go through their teenage years. Some of this reduction in participation in sport has been attributed to increased levels of anxieties, particularly around issues such as body changes, perceptions of others and exams. Through having the backing of the Brandon Centre staff at our sessions, the girls are provided support around any issues or anxieties that they may be experiencing. This is firstly, important for their mental health, but also through this approach, we aim to keep the girls involved in sport which has significant benefits to their physical health. 

Over the past six years, Islington Giving and the Arsenal Foundation have worked together to provide funding to a number of projects for the benefit of Islington’s young people. Why do you value working with Islington Giving? 

Jack: The support of Islington Giving has been fantastic. This type of partnership approach to supporting the community is invaluable and, in our experience, the most effective programmes have been those with like-minded organisations coming together to support a local need. 

Arsenal Girls Kicks

We think we can create positive social impact working collectively. What do you love about working in Islington and with local communities?  

Samir: Many of our staff are local people themselves, so it’s about helping our own local community and giving back to where we’re all from. For people who can’t go to games or have not felt a connection with school, family, or whatever it may be, we provide that connection with the club, which is vital. All our programmes including our Brandon Centre initiatives and the people that attend, create a group dynamic. Ultimately, the Arsenal Hub is a place for everyone to feel part of the club and we give people something to look forward to and feel a part of.  

Where people have not felt a connection with school, family, or whatever it may be, we provide that connection for peoplethe Arsenal Hub is a place for everyone to feel part of the club.

 This feature is part of our content for MHAW, highlighting our collaboration with Brandon Centre and Arsenal in the CommunitySign up to our newsletter today for more inspiring content.