The University of Oxford proudly launched the Oxford Sport Leaders Programme in 2023. The mission of the Programme is to use sport and education to explore how to bring Oxford and the community closer together.
The pilot project is being led by Vincent’s Alumni, Ollie Cook, (Christ Church), with a team of current Vinnies members under the leadership of Outreach Secretary, Eve Tranter (St Anne's), working with thirty school pupils from Greyfriars School in Central Oxford.
Ollie Cook writes:
"It has been incredible to see the University really come together to create a really exciting programme.
The programme will see the group of school pupils spend one day a week over six weeks at Oxford taking part in different sports sessions and educational workshops. The sports include basketball and football with the Blues teams, American Football, rowing, athletics, and remote-control car building and racing in Said Business School.
The school pupils will then have lunch at a University venue before spending the afternoon in a series of interactive educational workshops. These afternoon sessions include ‘Football on the Brain’ at the integrative neuroimaging unit with Professor Heidi Johnsen-Berg, ‘Sport Psychology’ with Saracens Rugby Club team psychologist Calum Clark, and ‘Ritual, Community Building and Identity in Sport’ with cognitive anthropologist and BBC commentator Dr Martha Newson.
The idea is that by bringing sport and education together we can better break down the barriers between the university and the community and create hopefully a really exciting and engaging programme.
The pilot programme is being supported in this initial phase by funding from the University of Oxford’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account award (Grant Ref: ES/X004511/1).
A group of 10 Vinnies’ members have been brave enough to volunteer for this programme. They are really the front and centre taking part in the programme alongside the group of school pupils, getting to know them, engaging them and no question inspiring them.
And personally, it has been so rewarding to see this programme come to life. It has been a project of mine for the last six months and I know that the University has so much to offer through sport and I’m really excited to see how well this programme delivers."
Vincent’s Members also play a prominent role in the Oxford University Lancers’ ground-breaking collaboration with the NFL Sports Academy.
The NFL Academy is a major international initiative by the NFL that aims to use American Football to create life-changing opportunities for young people aged 16-19 worldwide (2022-23 demographic approximately 50% British, 50% International).
As part of the academic curriculum, the NFL Academy offers a unique and bespoke sporting excellence education programme, enabling these student-athletes to work with a range of specialists and high-performance staff to gain further understanding to aid both progression in American Football, Further/Higher Education, and employment.
The NFL Academy and OULAFC collaboration is a key pilot opportunity for OULAFC to facilitate a major joint project that could be the catalyst for a more formal, longer-term relationship between the club, the university, and the NFL, which is a major international body with a track record for such support with Vincent’s proud to support and collaborate with.