Oxford United in the Community’s new countywide delivery has been marked by the presentation of a plaque at Easington Sports Football Club.
It marks a new chapter in the charity’s history as it seeks to broaden its engagement with all members of the community countywide via its new strategy ‘Oxfordshire – A Community United’.
Partnerships will be formed with grassroots clubs and charities in 10 to 15 towns across the next three years. The ‘hub and spoke’ model was launched in Banbury, via a partnership between Oxford United in the Community and Easington Sports FC. Together, a programme is being delivered in the Banbury area designed to inspire happier, healthier and better-connected communities.
Two of Oxford United in the Community’s newest sessions for children and women aged 16 to 30 were delivered with partners Easington Sports FC and Oxfordshire Mind respectively, highlighting the positive impact football can have on the wellbeing of people of all ages and abilities.
Chris Lowes, Head of Oxford United in the Community, said: “Today marks an exciting new chapter for the charity as we formally mark the first step in our strategic plans to develop our impact and operations across the county.
“The power of football and its ability to support people in reaching their full potential is significant. It’s why we made it our ambition to ramp up our scale of engagement with the support of strong community partnerships and our excellent team of programme leaders.
“We’re grateful to the Step Change Fund for their vital support which is enabling us to make our vision a reality.
“We would also like to thank Easington Sports for helping us to make a real difference to the lives of people living in and around Banbury through our tailored programmes designed to help people establish key skills and make new friends at the same time. It is an important first step that will become our blue-print for further partnerships in other towns.”
As part of Oxford United in the Community’s commitment to delivering its new vision, the charity has partnered with local charities and organisations. These include Oxfordshire FA, Active Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire Youth, Oxfordshire Mind, ARCh Oxfordshire and Aspire Oxfordshire.
The project is being funded by the Step Change Fund - an initiative facilitated by Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) that aims to strengthen the county’s charitable sector.
Nick Paladina, Project Manager at Step Change Fund, said: “We were extremely impressed by Oxford United in the Community’s vision to engage much deeper into Oxfordshire and bring people and organisations together through the power of football.
“Football is a very powerful platform to help inspire positive change, and we recognise how Oxford United in the Community’s programmes can help people become the best version of themselves.
“The Step Change Fund grant has also supported the charity with recruitment and the launch of its new website. We are enjoying working closely with the team and seeing how ‘Oxfordshire – A Community United’ is progressing.”
Jamie Hunter, Club Secretary at Easington Sports FC, said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with Oxford United in the Community.
“As a Level Three Accredited football club, we strive to develop our role in the local community. It’s important we provide people with opportunities to enjoy football, make friends and develop new skills.
“Oxford United in the Community’s tailored programmes allow us to do this and we look forward to working in partnership.”
Oxford United in the Community is Oxford United football club’s official charity and helps inspire people to live happier and healthier lives in better connected communities via the power of football.
The charity plans to launch similar ’Town Spokes’ in up to three more locations across Oxfordshire in 2022 and is keen to hear from ambitious, community-focused grassroots football clubs looking to partner with OUitC. Further information is available via the charity’s new website: Oxford United in the Community | Charity, Programmes, Courses (ouitc.org).