You’re Gunner be a star – new first-class football pitch unveiled

The search for the next Arsenal superstar has started in Woodberry Down with new regular Arsenal in the Community training sessions for young people on upgraded sports facilities as part of the regeneration of the estate.

Former player Jérémie Aliadière joined Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and local youngsters to demonstrate their football skills ahead of the first session – which will now take place for four hours every week.

Hackney Council, Berkeley Homes and The Arsenal Foundation invested £75,000 to revamp the estate’s sports pitch, with a larger, better playing surface and new lighting, goalposts and fencing. As well as football training provided by the club’s community arm, the Council will provide a range of sports activities throughout the week for young people.

The improvements are part of the long-term regeneration of the area, with more than 5,500 new modern, high-quality homes being built by a partnership between the Council, Berkeley Homes, Notting Hill Genesis Housing Association, Manor House Development Trust and the Woodberry Down Community Organisation.

When completed, the project will also create three new public parks, two schools and a children’s centre, as well as a new library and community centre. Dozens of local people have started new jobs or apprenticeships as part of the construction.

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney
It was fantastic to join so many eager young people keen to demonstrate their skills on these brilliant new facilities, and more importantly, have fun.

Regeneration is about more than just new homes – and I’m proud that our partnership at Woodberry Down is bringing real, tangible improvements like this for local families and young people.
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

Jérémie played in the Arsenal Legends v Real Madrid Legends match last September that helped raise money to pay for the new facilities.

It’s a pleasure to be here and help officially open the pitch.

It’s great to see that the money raised from the Legends match has gone to good use, and I feel privileged to have been able to play my part in that.

I remember how important it was to have a local place to play football when I was growing up, and from being here today I can see how much this community will benefit from the facility. 
Former Arsenal star Jérémie Aliadière
We are delighted that the young people at Woodberry Down will be able to enjoy the new football pitch.

Ensuring that all age groups can benefit from the change in the area is crucial to the success of the regeneration. 
Daniel Massie, Pre-Development Director at Berkeley Homes

Regular training sessions will start next month, with Arsenal in the Community writing to local residents to give more details of how to sign up. The pitch is free and open for anyone to use.

For more information about the regeneration of Woodberry Down, visit the Helping Others to Build pages.