Gerald Kelly looks back at this season's developments in the Community Department
Continuing our Review of from all Departments of the club Gerald Kelly talks us through the work of the Community Department.
“This year has been a very positive year for the Oxford United Youth & Community Trust. School delivery has doubled from 30 schools to 60 schools across Oxfordshire. This has been made possible through commercial partnerships with highly reputable companies such as Motors.co.uk and Bicester Village. This work gives more children the opportunity to play football in a well-structured and fun environment. Oxford United are committed to raising the standards of local football coaching. The club places a huge focus on its community programme and see it as a fundamental growth area for future fans. Next season will see the Trust continue to engage with all of these schools and also new schools in Oxfordshire.
The community team have been working hard to set up OxTots which will begin after Easter. OxTots is our new initiative for 2-5 year olds wanting to improve their basic football skills, motor skills and communication. This is an initiative designed to develop children in a fun and creative environment. If it is successful the trust will aim to expand the project across Oxfordshire.
In line with the introduction of Oxford United WFC in the super league, the community team have been busy increasing the participation of girls football aged 14-25. The project currently has over 360 girls involved. The club are delighted to see the level of enthusiasm towards the women’s game. This is a project the club will continue throughout next season.
The community trust has continued its commitment to social inclusion projects through the new exciting project in Blackbird Leys and the military integration project. Oxford United is a powerful brand in Oxfordshire that is capable to changing lives in a positive way. This is an area of focus for the club to give back to the community. In the first 2 weeks of the Blackbird Leys project, Thames Valley police commented on the reduced anti-social behaviour due the activities provided by Oxford United. The project has attracted interest from other groups wanting to extend the project to be a full time all year initiative. The City Council have been a pleasure to work with and the Trust aims to further develop this relationship over the coming years.
The Trust also realises the impact it can have on health issues in Oxfordshire. This year has seen the Trust work alongside Oxfordshire Mind to deliver a fitness and wellbeing course. The wellbeing is delivered by Mind with Oxford United taking on the fitness aspect. This is a project for Men aged 16-65 who have been selected by Oxfordshire Mind. We are delighted to see this project continue in to next season.
Oxford United have also grown the number of junior football teams coming along on match days for Saturday Specials. Engaging with junior clubs is a vital area for the club moving forward to ensure we grow the number of new fans. This year has again seen Oxford United recognised as a leading family club by the Football League. This is something we want to take a step further and push to win the award.
None of this would be possible without the ongoing commitment from the Oxford United Community team. A massive well done to Chris Lowes, Joe Long and Rob Lees.
United We Stand
Chris Williams reviews the Communications Department year HERE
Dan Bond talks us through Performance Analysis HERE