New children’s football project breaks down barriers to participation


A pilot has been running at Harriers Banbury Academy

A new initiative which is designed to inspire school children to play team-based sport is being piloted at the Harriers Banbury Academy.  Girls and boys aged 5-11 are being offered free football coaching once a week, immediately after school.

The project has been launched by the Angus Irvine Playing Field Fund and Oxford United in the Community, who believe that accessibility and opportunity are two key barriers which often restrict young people’s participation in sport.

The programme is delivered in 6-week blocks by Oxford United in the Community and is funded by the Angus Irvine Playing Field Fund.  It teaches basic football skills whilst promoting enjoyment, team communication, co-operation, and camaraderie on the pitch.

It is hoped that the sessions will inspire children to play football within their school and local community.

Easington Sports FC is providing places for up-and-coming grassroots players who have participated in the programme. 

Harriet Baring from the Angus Irvine Playing Field Fund said: “We strongly believe all children should have the opportunity to access sport outside their regular school curriculum.  If the pilot is successful, we would like to unite with local businesses to be able to roll out the programme to several other schools in the Banbury area.  Every child deserves to play sport and be part of a team.”

Chris Lowes, Head of Oxford United in the Community said: “Football and team-based sports play an important role in our young generation developing skills and confidence which are later essential in their everyday lives.  Sport England statistics show fewer than half of the children in England are meeting the Government guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for an hour each day.  If we can help provide inclusive programmes that can introduce the huge benefits of playing a sport, that can really transform an individual’s life.”

Faye Wayte, PE Co-ordinator at Harriers Banbury Academy said; “This pilot scheme has already proved to be a huge hit with the children.  They cannot wait to get outside, despite often bad weather.  They leave the session in high spirits and return to class with renewed energy the next day.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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