Sporting charity is introducing Banbury school-children to football - with training from Oxford United
The Angus Irvine Football Programme AIPFF has been launched in Banbury to coincide with the World Cup, joining forces with Oxford United in the Community. It is providing professional football coaching after school for children aged five to 11 years.
The organisers are appealing to Banbury area businesses to become sponsors, to help expand the programme and allow more children to take part in the six-week block activity.
Coaches will teach basic football skills while promoting enjoyment, team communication, co-operation and camaraderie on the pitch.
AIPFF and Oxford United believe accessibility and opportunity are two key barriers which often restrict young people’s participation in sport.
The new initiative, designed to inspire school children into playing team sport, is being piloted at the Harriers Banbury Academy. Girls and boys are being offered free football coaching once a week, immediately after school.
Faye Wayte, Harriers’ PE Co-ordinator said; “This pilot scheme has already proved to be a huge hit with the children. They cannot wait to get outside, even in bad weather. They leave the session in high spirits and return to class with renewed energy the next day.”
Harriet Baring, from AIPFF, said: “It is hoped the sessions will inspire children to play football at school and in the community. To this end, Easington Sports FC in Banbury is providing places for up-and-coming grassroots players who have participated in the Angus Irvine Football Programme.
"This club has a history of working in the local community to encourage children to play football. It organises the Festival of Football which is designed to give participants a chance to experience the game at grassroots level.
“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.”
The Angus Irvine Playing Fields Fund (AIPFF) was set up to increase opportunities for young people in disadvantaged areas of the UK to play sport. It was established by the late Angus Irvine, of Hook Norton, in 2012 following the London Olympics and is a restricted fund within the charity Access Sport.
The AIPFF provides much needed grant funding to community clubs, many of which are volunteer-led. This, in turn, enables them to transform the lives of underserved young people in their local communities.