Access Sport Oxfordshire: Making sport more accessible and inclusive across the county
Posted: Fri, 04 Aug 2023 12:20
During its' first year, Access Sport Oxfordshire has proudly worked with Oxfordshire-based sports clubs and organisations, communities, and residents, to make sure children and young people facing barriers to physical activity can enjoy the huge benefits which being active brings. The incredible work of Access Sport Oxfordshire has had significant positive impact, improving access to sports for 330 young people from priority neighbourhoods.
Access Sport Oxfordshire launched in April 2022 with the goals of:
- Increasing access to inclusive sports across the county for young people facing barriers to physical activity
- Creating a new generation of diverse coaches and leaders
- Providing more opportunities to sports for disabled children and young people
Access Sport Oxfordshire has supported many sports clubs and organisations in the county since March 2022. Working with them individually, it has been able to tailor support to be most effective, from supporting at events and sports festivals like the Sun Rae Dance Festival (an inclusive dance competition) or the NHS have a go day (inclusive sports day for adults), to providing funding which has enabled clubs to purchase equipment, secure venues and run regular sessions. Some clubs have used funding to focus on the long-term sustainability of the club and its' community, such as by subsidising memberships to make sessions more accessible and inclusive, as was the case for Lifts and Sprints Athletics Academy. Funding has also been used to help young people obtain coaching qualifications to begin their career in sport, including 17-year-old Mohammed from the Banbury Mosque football club.
Banbury Mosque, which is situated within one of our priority neighbourhoods, runs football sessions for young people aged 8 – 16. Over the last year, 112 young people attended the football sessions, which were run by a group of volunteers, including Mohammed. The weekly sessions have become an important and valuable space for the local community, and the volunteers wanted to make the sessions more regular and structured. Access Sport Oxfordshire was able to support the 4 volunteers to obtain their coaching qualifications.
Mohammed, who played for Abingdon Football Club, supported Banbury Mosque by voluntarily running the football sessions alongside three other volunteers. He and the volunteers undertook their FA Level 1 qualifications, shadowing the Oxford United in the Community coaches, who'd also been supporting the sessions at Banbury Mosque.
Since completing the coaching qualification, Mohammed's confidence has increased significantly. He has obtained paid work as a football coach and will complete his UEFA Level C to develop his career in sport, which he hopes to do at a competitive level. Excitingly, Banbury Mosque can now run their sessions independently, with Mohammed and the other coaches leading the club, continuing to provide the amazing support they have been giving their young community.
The independent continued running of the football sessions at Banbury Mosque is a significant step in increasing diversity and representation in sport in the county, something which is important to Mohammed and has influenced his passion for sport:
To find out more about how Access Sport Oxfordshire has supported young people and sports clubs across the county, please read the 12-month report here.
Access Sport has been supporting children and young people in Oxford City since 2014, and thanks to the generous support of Mark Beard, High Sheriff of Oxfordshire 2022 – 23, Richard Venables, Nationwide Foundation, Angus Irvine Playing Fields Fund, Gladstone Software, and many other donors, Access Sport Oxfordshire has been able to continue and expand its provision to support young people across the whole county.