Alan Sefton MBE
Congratulations to Alan on his MBE

Alan Sefton, who heads the Arsenal in the Community department has received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours for “services to Education and to Young People in the UK and abroad.”

Arsenal chairman, Sir Chips Keswick, said: “This is much deserved recognition for Alan and his team who have done outstanding work in the community.

“At Arsenal we fully understand the impact we can have on people’s lives and Alan and the Arsenal in the Community team have been the driving force behind many projects which have transformed the fortunes of many in Islington and beyond.”

Alan said on being notified of the MBE: “I am delighted but this is recognition for all the hard work of so many people. We continue to work hard to make a difference and meet the needs of people in the borough and beyond.”

Arsenal in the Community’s programmes cover sport and education, health and social inclusion and are often a route into training and employment for participants.

Arsenal in the Community operates in 159 different venues, with more than 5,000 people benefiting each week.

These are offering local young people the opportunity to play football and take advantage of further education, social inclusion and routes to employment.

Alan said: “It’s all about realising the power of football, the influence of football and the part it plays in people’s lives is no less now than it was 30 years ago. That power enables you to do those other things away from the sport. Arsenal really do get involved in the nitty-gritty. It’s about being at the heart and soul of the community.”

Looking to the future Alan is confident Arsenal’s community involvement will continue to grow.

He said: “It all started with our old JVC community centre and I’m delighted that we will be opening a new centre to serve the community early in 2015.”

“The work will probably double over the next 30 years. The privilege, and also the responsibility, of working in this sector for Arsenal is that people, from all walks of life, want to be associated with the club and feel that Arsenal can, somehow, enhance what they are doing. That’s what we aim to do.”