New club allows Banbury over 50s to join monthly sessions with Oxford United legends

A new club has been set up to allow Banbury over 50s to join monthly sessions with Oxford United legends.
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The Manor Club, a social outlet for people aged 50+ in Cowley, Oxford, is linking with a new club at Easington Sports FC in a pilot that will invite Banbury folk to enjoy like-minded company.

The sessions take place during the football season on the first Wednesday of the month and the Banbury pilot has been called The Manor Club Connected.

The first speaker will be Andy Whing, former Oxford Utd player and now Banbury Utd FC manager at the pilot event at Easington Sports FC on Wednesday, March 1. Whing will appear via a live video link. Sandwiches, lunch and hot drinks will be provided.

Chris Lowes, left, Head of Oxford United in the Community, is pictured with Easington Sports FC marking the formal partnership between the charity and football clubChris Lowes, left, Head of Oxford United in the Community, is pictured with Easington Sports FC marking the formal partnership between the charity and football club
Chris Lowes, left, Head of Oxford United in the Community, is pictured with Easington Sports FC marking the formal partnership between the charity and football club

“It’s essentially a talk with question-and-answer session, headlined by an Oxford United legend either past or present,” said a spokesman.

People join by buying tickets, proceeds from which are used to support Oxford United in the Community’s work to inspire happier, healthier and better-connected communities through the power of football.

Visitors at Easington Sports FC will watch a live stream of the Manor Club and be able to interact with the guest speaker via video call.

Anyone aged 50+ can attend and they don’t have to be a football fan.

Oxford United in the Community has partnered with Oxford University’s Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences division and Oxford Brookes for the new project, which will explore how loneliness and social isolation can be resolved.

As part of its Science Together programme, the researchers will use the pilot to learn how community groups can tackle loneliness and help improve people’s lives.

Chris Lowes, Head of Oxford United in the Community, believes digital alternatives to real-life events can help people feel better connected.

“The Manor Club engages dozens of people each month who otherwise might have to spend their afternoon alone,” he said.

“However, we are aware of the travel and financial barriers which may restrict new members from attending events in Oxford.

"The Manor Club Connected allows people in north Oxfordshire to participate and interact as if they were at the real event.

“We hope by connecting virtually to the main event on a big screen that people will come together and watch a live transmission of the Manor Club within easy access of their community,” he said.

“This latest provision is entirely free and we’re grateful to the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University for their support in helping us connect football enthusiasts across the county.”

New government data reveals almost one quarter (24%) of adults in Oxfordshire experienced feelings of loneliness in the last year.

Feelings of loneliness in the Oxford (29.4%) and Cherwell (26.7%) districts ranked significantly higher than other regions in the county.

Rachel Ashwanden, Science Engagement Officer at the University of Oxford, added: “Our Science Together programme focuses on creating research projects that truly serve the needs of Oxfordshire community groups.

“Through The Manor Club Connected our researchers will work closely with Oxford United in the Community to help more people access a thriving community of football enthusiasts aged over 50.”

Email [email protected] or call 01865 337515 to book and see www.ouitc.org