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Community Update

Head of Oxford United in the Community Chris Lowes bring you all the latest from the U’s' charity.

20 May 2020

On behalf of everyone at Oxford United in the Community and the wider club I would like to extend our sincere thoughts and best wishes to anyone impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We appreciate many people have been impacted in various ways across our community, physically, mentally, and financially. As the club’s charity we remained committed to supporting as many people as we can throughout this crisis and beyond.
While we are all in a challenging situation there have been many positives and as a community we have pulled together. We have not been able to deliver our community engagement and outreach programmes in our traditional way and so have adapted to continue to support people during the current restrictions. We have focused on delivering health, fitness and well being programmes designed to keep people active and promote healthy bodies and minds.
Here are some of the highlights:
Homework packs
Oxford United in the Community have been engaging with hundreds of youngsters during lockdown via homework packs. Our team created a special timetable of homework to support parents who are home schooling their children and to inspire youngsters. More than 500 children took part in the programme. The work was designed to encourage youngsters to think, remain healthy and active.
Daily Challenges
The social media videos our team of community coaches and charity patrons have been delivering have been a great hit. Hundreds of youngsters have taken part in daily challenges and shared their activities via video. The daily challenges were designed to support youngsters during lock down to remain fit and active. 
Fit Fans Campaign
Oxford United in the Community partnered with the EFL Trust to help provide another safe way for fans to get active at home via a FIT FANS campaign. In support of Sport England’s ‘Stay in Work Out’ campaign, the programme ensured fans had an additional safe way to start and maintain exercise safely during lock down.
According to new research released by Sport England, over 65% of people believe that exercise is helping them with their mental health, making an active lifestyle more important than ever for fans and the nation.
Members of the Oxford United in the Community team joined the club in helping to distribute face masks to help fans and key workers.
Masks were sent to the NHS, local charities, the city and county councils and several of our partners across Oxfordshire. Additionally, 2,000 masks were sent by post to season ticket holders aged over 55 and some higher risk supporters. 
Horrid Henry
We teamed up with animated TV star Horrid Henry to help share our home-based activity programmes with thousands of families. The collaboration has seen youngsters receive our homework packs via Henry Unlocked, a regular lock down podcast.
2.6 Challenge
More than £1,000 was raised via the 2.6 Challenge to help your charity do more in your community. We took part in the fundraising event which was designed to help replace some of the fundraising which has been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting postponement of the
Virgin Money London Marathon. The 2.6 Challenge saw United fans, youngsters on our community programmes and some of our Patrons and Trustees take part. Thank you to everyone who took part and donated.
Joy of Moving
This month we are working in partnership with the EFL Trust to help deliver the Joy of Moving Home School Festival. Oxfordshire schools are taking part in the national initiatives that will see hundreds of thousands of children taking part across the country.
The Festival consists of an afternoon timetable of activities for children in Key Stage 2 on the theme of the Joy of Moving. We have shared digital packs with teachers and parents to use with children. The Joy of Moving games and activities are designed to inspire active lifestyles in children, aiming to teach children how to enjoy moving through play, and to help them develop positive habits for adulthood.
Movement for Good
You can help your charity by nominating us to receive a vital grant. Ecclesiastical are giving away the money as part of its Movement for Good awards, which will see 500 charities receive £1,000 during the first phase of the campaign.
The nomination process is open until 24 May. Winners will be drawn at random and the more times a charity is nominated the more chance it has of being selected. To nominate Oxford United in the Community please visit:
Enter the Charity Registration Number 1125173 and fill in a few simple questions. Select ‘Community’ as the type of charity. 
Securing the award would help Oxford United in the Community do good work across Oxfordshire, including engagement programmes in Blackbird Leys and surrounding areas.
Thank you
A big thank you to our colleagues and everyone who has supported and engaged with us via our various projects. Working to support our community is at the heart of what we do.
In addition to the projects behind the scenes we have been future planning, devising new programmes and preparing bids for funding, which will be crucial for your charity.
Be Kind
Lastly, it is Mental Health Awareness Week, which is so important at such a challenging time for everyone. Please remember to be kind to yourself and others. Help is at hand if you need it.
Oxfordshire Mental Health Helpline have trained mental health advisers who are on hand to make sure people get the care that is right for them.
The number for adults is 01865 904997. For children and young people, the number is 01865 904998.
Stay safe.
Chris Lowes

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