Chris Lowes brings us up to date on what’s happening at United’s charity
It has been a busy summer for the team at Oxford United in the Community and we are all raring go for the new season.
With the season upon us it seems apt to start with what our team will be doing on a matchday this season. The sensory room will be open again, after its successful soft-launch last season. Located in the South Stand Upper the sensory room has been designed to create a safe and stress-free space for people with autism and other sensory needs. Crowds and loud noises can be challenging for some and the room provides a calm space via light projectors, soft play items, sensory mats and special seating.
It is run in partnership with Jigsaw, an Oxford based parent carer support group, plus Oxvox and Cybele Homes, who provided financial support in the beginning. The sensory room is a vital part of the matchday provision and shows what can be achieved via partnerships. If you would like more information, or to book a place, please get in touch.
We will also be running the ever-popular family room, Olly’s Den, and managing stadium tours and community mascots. The matchday experience for families and children has gone from strength to strength and we are proud of the role we have played in helping the club achieve the recent Family Excellence Award from the EFL.
Our summer camps have just started with our team of coaches providing sessions for boys and girls aged four to 14 to learn new skills and get active. Each day usually consists of warm-ups, skills sessions including passing, turning, dribbling and shooting and mini matches. The courses are being held at The Oxford Academy, Crowmarsh RecreationGround, Christopher’s Primary School, Lechlade, Hanney Recreation Ground and Cherwell School.
The courses are structured for children to have fun and improve their skills in a nurturing and safe environment. They are delivered as part of our commitment to support active and healthy lifestyles among youngsters in Oxfordshire. The key aim of the courses is to develop respect, sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork in a fun environment. The good news is there is time to book your place!
We are also looking forward to the next year of the Manor Club, a special event which sees a club legend return to provide a talk over lunch to the older generation in our community. Held at the Cowley Workers club on the first Wednesday of the month it has proved so popular that we have lowered the entry age from 60 plus to 50 plus. It was created to provide an outlet for older residents in the Eastern Arch of the city and United fans to meet and socialise.
At management level we have been working closely with our board on a strategy review of the charity. It has given us an opportunity to challenge ourselves on who we are, what we want to achieve and how we can do so. It has been a rigorous and detailed process that has involved a lot of self-examination, research and big picture thinking. We believe it will create a new, stronger strategy that enables us to make a bigger difference across Oxfordshire, connect with more people and have a real impact. Key drivers to success will be setting goals and building partnerships.
As we celebrate our 30th anniversary it is an ideal time to focus on maximising the power and reach of United in our community to take things to the next level.
A big thank you must go to my colleagues and the board of Trustees for their support as we work on taking your charity forward with a determination to increase our delivery. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch via: firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you follow us on Twitter via @OUFCcommunity