Walcott meets Arsenal short mat bowls team

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Theo Walcott meets the Arsenal short mat bowls team

To kick-off Arsenal in the Community's 25th anniversary this week, Theo Walcott met participants of the Arsenal short mat bowls team.  When the Club established its community department 25 years ago, the Arsenal short mat bowls teams were one of the first groups to come together and enjoy an association with the Club.

Since Arsenal in the Community's formation a quarter-century ago, the Club has invested over 5.5 million hours in one million individuals across a wide variety of sporting, charitable, educational and social inclusion projects in London and overseas.

Walcott's visit marks the milestone and throughout the week, Arsenal in the Community will share the work it undertakes with several Arsenal players who will visit an array of projects throughout a week which will culminate in a celebration at Emirates Stadium on February 25th with manager, Arsène Wenger.

Speaking ahead at the event, Theo Walcott said: "There's so much more to Arsenal than what takes place on the pitch.  This week gives players another chance to see the work that takes place in the community and meet the participants who are proudly associated with the Club and the team.  It's important that we know about the work of the department off the pitch at Arsenal to stay connected with our supporters and the area where we play."

Head of Arsenal in the Community, Alan Sefton added: "It's great that Theo can join us this afternoon to kick-off an important week in the department's history.  Arsenal in the Community's schemes involve a cross section of community and in this instance, the bowls team are an older group of supporters who have been associated with the Club for 25 years.  The sessions are coordinated and received with the same energy and commitment today as when they started 25 years ago. To us, that's the true test of success."

This week, Arsenal players will be visiting a variety of the Club's education, sport and social inclusion programmes.

Our slideshow below features some retrospective images of the bowls club plus pictures from Theo's visit.

The bowls programme is supported by the Premier League/PFA Community Fund which is administered and managed by the Football Foundation.

This special Arsenal in the Community 25th anniversary event also formed part of the Premier League initiative Places for Players (part of the Creating Chances scheme) which uses the power of football to engage a cross section of community in a wide variety of projects.

22 Feb 2010