In March 2021, to mark the 20th anniversary of Rocky’s death, the Rocastle family and the club made a commitment to continue to grow his legacy – the Rocky 7 project.
Arsenal in the Community worked with seven young people from a range of community outreach programmes who were guided and mentored as part of a leadership programme designed to give them valuable life skills, volunteering opportunities and the confidence to be leaders in their own community. These leadership qualities were what made Rocky a hero to so many of us.
The participants were referred from Arsenal in the Community’s estates, girls’ football, disability, employability and community coach development programmes in the local area.
They were mentored by club staff who supported them to achieve personal goals. There were some great success stories with participants joining Arsenal in the Community as a sessional football coach, achieving qualifications, volunteering in their local community and gaining employment. They also met Arsenal legend Alan Smith, a former team-mate and great friend of David and his family.
The Rocky 7 project will continue to develop in 2022 and beyond, working with larger group of 15 participants again drawn from Arsenal in the Community’s local outreach programmes. They will be a mixture of referrals from Kicks (football sessions in local parks and on estates), girls football and disability schemes.
They will be starting with a two-day FA Playmaker course, which will equip them with the skills needed to run a football tournament in their local community. They will also, as with last year, be mentored individually to help them achieve their goals as well as taking part in various workshops and courses.
Well done from all of us at the club and the Rocastle family to all those who took part last year. The participants are here at the game today as a reward for their commitment.
Participant Jessy says…
“I have benefitted by being on the Rocky 7 project because I was able to go out and try new things and had new experiences, such as coaching, refereeing and helping to organise events. I enjoyed the practical side of the project as I have been invited to go out and help with different tournaments – I assisted in an under-9 competition and also one for the NHS.”
Participant Naila says…
“Since being a part of the programme I was successful in getting a role as a social inclusion coach within the Arsenal Community team. It’s the most rewarding job! It’s nice to be the role model that I would have liked to have had around when I was growing up. Football is for everyone and it’s my job to help the younger generation see that too.”
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