Chris Lowes, Head of Oxford United in the Community, writes:
It is a great privilege to guide the club’s charity, the work we do in our community is vitally important and the positive impact we make on people is what drives us on. Our mission is to use the power of football to enable people to have positive aspirations for their futures and the well-being and confidence to achieve them.
We have got a first-class team of full-time and part-time coaches who are all passionate about helping make a difference. Our challenge now is developing our offering and ensuring we reach more people across the community.
The power of football and the affinity for Oxford United in the community gives us an incredible opportunity to help ‘hard to reach’ people. It is a privilege and responsibility we take very seriously.
I joined Oxford United in the Community 15 years ago as a casual coach and have been fortunate to be part of a fantastic growth cycle that now sees us deliver 40 sessions in schools per week. This week we had more than 100 children on our Easter courses. I have seen first-hand how important our work is and the benefits it brings. I believe I am well positioned to take the charity forward, with the support of my colleagues. To that end we recently appointed Tim Tarby-Donald as Head of Charitable Activities, as part of our development strategy.
As part of our plans we are actively speaking to other major charities in the county to forge meaningful collaborations that will deliver impact measured results.
It is an exciting time at Oxford United in the Community, it is our 30th anniversary year, which is a fantastic achievement. We launched our Dream Big Appeal campaign which is a 12-month fund-raising, engagement and awareness programme. We also appointed club legend James Constable as a Patron, alongside Rosie. We have another exciting Patron to announce, so watch this space!
We set an ambitious target to raise £30,000 in 12 months. If we can achieve this, we will be in a strong position to really take the charity forward and deliver more charitable work.
The recent Community Day was a great launch pad for the campaign, we had more than 400 guests from primary schools across Oxfordshire join us for the match. Plans for the year include a dinner, which should be a fantastic event.
While it is an exciting time, it has been equally challenging. Like most small charities funding is not easy and planning a major campaign with limited resource is also challenging. Many people behind the scenes have been integral to driving oxford United in the Community forward recently and we are indebted to them. My thanks go to all the coaches and Tim. Plus our fantastic Board: Jeremy Faulkner, Greig Box Turnbull, Kath Parker, Paul Roberts, Ian Hudspeth, Stuart Bradney, Ceri Butcher and Matt Everett.
Here’s to a big year working together to develop your charity.