Every month, a member of the Oxford United in the Community team pens our Community Matters column in the Oxford Mail.
This month, Mark Thomas – our Social Inclusion Lead at Oxford United in the Community – discusses how we are broadening our partnership base to maximise positive social impact.
It’s still a frequent misconception that Oxford United in the Community exists to deliver positive matchday experiences to young supporters and regular holiday camps only.
While it’s true those provisions remain key cogs in the wheel of the charity’s operation, our work today extends way beyond those boundaries.
This month, myself and Rob Porter – our Lead Community Coach – were pleased to accept an invitation from Thames Valley Police to speak at its Neighbourhood Conference held on our doorstep at the Kassam Stadium.
It provided an excellent platform for us to engage senior police officials, PCSOs and local representatives about how we can use the power of football to positively influence the lives of vulnerable members of society.
By vulnerable, we mean individuals at risk of becoming connected with anti-social behaviour and youth violence plus other factors such as loneliness or inequality.
Football is a fantastic ice-breaker activity. It’s why our association with Thames Valley Police stretches beyond this month’s talk to on-the-ground engagement most recently at our weekly Premier League Kicks sessions in Banbury.
Sessions are free and specifically designed to inspire young people aged 8-18 to unlock their true potential via activities on the pitch and discussions off it.
You can read Mark’s column in full by clicking here.
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