Arsenal legend Ray Parlour speaks movingly about Indonesia trip on behalf of the club's charitable foundation
PUBLISHED: 19:17 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:39 18 July 2018
Gunners icon Ray Parlour spoke movingly about his time in Indonesia during his work representing the Arsenal Foundation - the club's charitable arm - which will benefit from cash raised through the Arsenal Legends v Real Madrid Legends match at the Emirates on Saturday, September 8.
The funds raised will be channelled towards the foundation which was founded in 2012 during the club’s 125th anniversary to extend the club’s good work and reach a greater number of beneficiaries around the world.
The body funds a variety of projects which use the Arsenal name and the popularity of the game to reach disadvantaged young people.
Parlour visited one of the most disadvantaged slum communities in North Jakarta, Indonesia, to meet children involved in the foundation’s football programme last year.
Parlour spoke powerfully as he recalled the trip to the Islington Gazette during a launch event at the Emirates to promote the fixture.
The project, aided by the Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children, uses football to help empower youngsters – giving vulnerable children a safe space to play, while building confidence and encouraging teamwork.
As part of his visit, the star known as the ‘Romford Pele’ played football with wide-eyed kids and took part in training sessions run by Arsenal Soccer School coach Drew Tyler.
Generously sharing his experiences he said: “To see the smiles on the faces of football-mad kids who had very little was very moving when I was over there.
“I’ve got kids myself and like all of us we want to provide for them but to see some children living on the edge of a rubbish dump in North Jakarta and Surabaya in Indonesia when we visited really brought it home.
“They face daily struggles but I’m proud the Arsenal Foundation could get involved to give them a better future.”
The much-loved former Arsenal midfielder also explained the foundation does great work helping disadvantaged youngsters closer to home, adding: “The foundation also helps kids in North London too. It’s such a great project to be part of and to give something back.”
Funds raised from the Legends game will be used to fund the club’s pioneering football coaching programme on pitches built in partnership with Save the Children following the success of the Arsenal Legends match against Milan Glorie in 2016.
The pioneering project will combine Arsenal’s expertise of delivering football programmes with Save the Children’s experience of working in the world’s toughest places.
A club spokesman said: “Together, we are co-creating an innovative football programme in Jordan and Indonesia to build children’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, helping them build the skills to withstand the shocks and stresses they may face in their lives.”
Arsenal Legends v Real Madrid Legends, Emirates Stadium, Saturday, September 8, kick-off 2pm.
For full ticket details, including price categories and details of concessions, and to buy tickets visit arsenal.com.
To learn more about the wonderful work the Arsenal Foundation does near and far follow them on Twitter @AFC_Foundation.