What is rosemary gardens?
The Rosemary Gardens site lies in the ward of Canonbury, Islington but is also close to the border of Hackney. The Canonbury ward has an Index of multiple deprivation (IMD) ranking of 3,810 (12%) out of 32,482 LSOA’s in England. All of the wards in Islington fall into the top 40% of most deprived wards in England.
The borough of Islington is the third smallest local authority in the country, however it is the second most populated. The 20-39 age group are heavily represented and accounts for 43% of the population. As a consequence, there is likely to be a rapid growth in newly born children in the area. It is predicted that the population will increase a further 10.5% by the end of 2011 bringing the population at this stage to 199,000. One in five in the Borough was born outside the EU compared with one in fifteen nationally. One in four belongs to an ethnic minority group and one in six of the working population has a limiting long term illness, which is greater than the rest of inner London.
The government has identified Islington as an “Area of Opportunity” meaning that homes for an additional 30,000 people will be provided over the next ten years.
398 in the ward are classified as unemployed with 2,563 as economically inactive. This is higher than both the average for London and the national average. There are 3,800 people receiving incapacity benefits and 1,100 with severe disability allowance. Overall it is estimated that 15% of the population has some sort of disability which is a total of 27,000 people.
According to research carried out by Islington Council, nearly 20% of young children aged between 4 and 5 years old were classified as ‘overweight’, with 9% being classed as obese or very obese. Research showed that 36% of children at secondary school age are overweight also. Only 55% of boys and 39% of girls are achieving the levels of physical activity set in government targets. This trend continues into adult life with only 68% of men and 73% of women undertaking sufficient physical activity.
Developing activity and skills
At the start of the project Arsenal Football Club set the following targets:
Increase participation in a variety of sports across a variety of disciplines, age groups and gender
Strengthening the links amongst the community and a variety of groups providing a sporting and social focus
Creating and refurbishing of a non profit facility for the local community to play sport
To provide a true multi sport approach
Increase the number of adults who take part in 30 minutes of moderate activity (5 Work with local agencies and partners to make the best use of the facility
To be part of Islington Council bid for 100% of residents to be within 20 minutes walking distance of three different sporting facilities
Impact to date
Young people from Hackney and Islington attend the Kickz sessions in large numbers at Rosemary Gardens on a weekly basis. Post codes and territorial differences have not been an issue, with both groups mixing peacefully through the power of football. On occasions when situations have become ‘heated’, Kickz staff noted that the older members of the group have been responsible for helping to calm the situations down.
Arsenal in the Community is extremely active at Rosemary Gardens and delivers a range of other activities alongside the Kickz programme. Arsenal soccer schools deliver sessions at the site on a weekly basis. The sessions are delivered on Saturdays at 11am-12pm for 6-8 year olds and from 12pm-1pm for 9-11 year olds. Due to the popularity of the weekend sessions after school sessions have been setup on Wednesday nights running from 4pm-6pm with the younger age group occupying the first hour.
User experiences - christian's story
Christian’s story highlights the effects that the Kickz project is having on the local communities surrounding Rosemary Gardens. The first time Christian attended a Kickz session he kept his distance and as time passed by he gradually began to interact more. Christian was originally part of a Kickz project in Hackney but after the coaches gained his trust, they managed to persuade him to cross the Borough border and join in the sessions at Rosemary Gardens.
Christian was in court facing a serious charge. John Keyes, a Kickz coach was also present giving a character reference for one of the other young people involved in the same case. It was at this point that the Kickz coaches really began to see a change in Christian. The session after the court case Christian approached John:
“Within a few days of seeing Christian in court he told me at the session that he needed my help. He said he wanted to get out of the world he was living and asked whether or not I could help him.
It turns out that Christian had been a drug dealer and involved in things that he would rather move on from. He also told me that he had a daughter and he wanted her to grow up being proud of her Dad.
This was a cry for help from a young man that was caught up in things he didn’t know how to break away from. He wanted out from the gang he was in and to walk away from the negative things he was involved with.”
Arsenal in the community referred Christian to an organisation called the Foundation Training Company (FTC) based in Shoreditch. The FTC has a proven track record of providing support to young offenders, and with the possibly of a custodial sentence they wanted to be positive and plan for the immediate future.
Christian highlighted that he wanted to get away from the area he was currently living in and would allow him a fresh start to choose a new path for his life. The introduction to the FTC proved vital as they are trying to re-house Christian out of borough.
Kickz continued to play an important role. One member of the Arsenal Kickz coaching team in particular, John Keyes has been alongside Christian all the way through his journey. John placed Christian on a youth work course based at the Emirates Stadium and also helped him achieve a level 1 coaching qualification.