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Club and Trust to Assist Local School In Sports Initiative

York City Football Club and the York City Supporters Trust have teamed up to show their united support for Oaklands School's bid to become York's first Sports College

City Chairman John Batchelor and the recently elected board of the York City Supporters' Trust have each pledged 10,000 to the Oakland's appeal, boosting the school's funds and helping them move closer to their target of 50,000.

The money pledged will help Oaklands reach their goal of official Sports College status, enabling them to embark on a community programme that will offer expert football coaching and training facilities to primary, secondary and special schools, as well as youth groups and junior sports clubs throughout the York area.

City Chairman John Batchelor said, "I was very keen to get involved with this project. It will provide the whole city with exciting sporting opportunities and will encourage young people to get involved in football and other positive sports activities. I believe the club has a social responsibility to the community it serves and involvement in this project will help to strengthen the bonds between the club and the people of the city.

Sophie McGill, board member of the York City Supporters' Trust said, "The Trust are delighted to be involved in this great community sports initiative. When the Trust was formed earlier this year, raising money to save the club was our sole priority. Now that the club has been taken over by John, we are putting all our efforts into bridging the gap between the Club and the York community. Involvement in this project will give the Trust an ideal opportunity to make a real difference. This pledge opens the door to a long term relationship with Oaklands which will help to bring the club closer to its supporters and the community."

Various plans have already been discussed regarding the Club and Trust's involvement with Oaklands. The indoor training facilities and possible state of the art all weather pitch have already been identified as alternatives to City's training ground in the event of bad weather.

The Trust have also discussed the possibility of Trust football tournaments for primary schools in and around York to be hosted at Oaklands and a Trust football team to be recruited from the membership to play their home games at the college.

As part of this three way partnership, Paul Coxon and the staff at Oaklands will also assist the Club and Trust in their communication and involvement with local schools, co-ordinating player visits and helping with various sports and educational projects.

Michelle Burns, headteacher of Oaklands said "This is a tremendous boost to our fundraising efforts to become a Sports College. We are convinced of the benefits that this status can bring to not only the young people of our school but also the local community. We are keen to work together with York City and the Trust to promote all that football and sport can offer to young and old regardless of ability. We want young people to be engaged through sport and to be making healthy lifestle choices as early as possible."

A football memorabilia auction will be held at 7.30pm this evening at the Holiday Inn, Tadcaster Road to help raise further funds for the project. York City have donated a Day's Training with the Players and the Trust have also donated a framed Middlesbrough shirt signed by Gazza, a Trust life membership and a Fulham shirt signed by Mohammed Al Fayed. John Batchelor and Trust Board members will be attending the event.

ABOUT OAKLANDS SCHOOL

Oaklands School takes almost 900 students from its main catchment areas of Acomb, Foxwood and Woodthorpe in the west of the city. The school prides itself on the quality of education offered irrespective of the relatively wide variety of social and economic backgrounds, abilities and interests of its young people.

EXTENDING THE SCHOOL'S PARTNERSHIP WITH THE COMMUNITY

The School is now planning to extend its partnership with the community through projects including a refurbished all-weather pitch, a dance/drama studio and a climbing centre (all to be available in 2003/04). Through the team of sports co-ordinators the School offers quality physical education and coaching across the city.

Plans are being made to work in partnership with York's Special Schools, giving children with learning difficulties the opportunity to enjoy the facilities on a regular basis.

The School's plans have the backing of City of York Council and it is hoped that the New Opportunities Fund will provide money for the major capital projects.

The School now needs to raise a total of 50,000 through gifts and sponsorship in order to receive matched funding that will give it Sports College status. Attaining Sports College status will enable the School to make the full range of facilities available to the family of schools, community users and businesses.

BECOMING YORK'S FIRST SPORTS COLLEGE

Quoting from the School's own newsletter

"We believe that becoming a Sports College will offer a huge range of opportunities for our students and the community. We see sport and physical education as a way through which we can raise academic standards through improved self esteem, confidence, responsibility, team work and motivation for all abilities."

"Our community will benefit directly from this by having the improved resources available for their use, the opportunities for wider involvement in sport, reduced anti-social behaviour among young people and in the long term, healthier lifestyles."

"Oaklands does not intend to change its admission policy if we are successful in our application We shall be able to offer a wider range of qualifications and hope to see an increase in the uptake of physical activity for leisure for all."

"We shall be working more closely with other schools and clubs and offering more to local residents out of school hours. Oaklands will become regionally recognised as a centre for excellence for sports related education and we will build on our good record of getting the best out of everyone in the School."

IT'S A FOOTBALL THING

Oaklands is about more than just football, but football is a key element.
Aspects include:

- Sports College status will enable the School to enhance the Partners in Football Scheme, whereby young people have the opportunity to visit other towns and cities and their professional football club. The Youth Sports Trust, who oversee all Sports Colleges nationally, have suggested Oaklands as the hub of a national network. Almost 1,000 young people have already enjoyed the opportunities the scheme offers.

- The indoor training facilities and all weather pitch have already been identified as alternatives to City's training ground in the event of bad weather;

- Oaklands will offer expert football coaching and training facilities to primary, secondary and special schools, as well as youth groups and junior sports clubs throughout the York area;

- Assistance to the Club and Trust in their communication and involvement with local schools, co-ordinating player visits and helping with various sports and educational projects;

- Junior football events to be held at Oaklands, in conjunction with the Club and the Trust;

- A Supporters' Trust team (Trust members to volunteer) to be based at Oaklands.

In addition, there are many other ways for the Club, the Trust (and its individual members) and the School to benefit from this partnership going forward.

THE SUPPORTERS' TRUST: MAKING A DIFFERENCE

The aims of the Supporters' Trust are set out in its Rules. These include:

- To provide and maintain facilities for the enjoyment of professional football in York and the surrounding area;

- To strengthen the bonds between the Club and the community which it serves and to represent the interests of the community in the running of the Club;

- To benefit present and future members of the community served by the Club by promoting, encouraging and furthering the game of football as a recreational facility, sporting activity and focus for community involvement; and

- To promote coaching schemes to develop the football skills of young people and to widen interest in football regardless of the sex or ethnic origin of those involved.

The Oaklands community project provides an excellent 'fit' with the objects of the Supporters' Trust. And this is not just as a short term 'fix', but it helps provide a positive sporting legacy for the city. The amount of the pledge by the Supporters' Trust, which matches that of John Batchelor, is significant. For the future of sport in York, the Oaklands project is very important. The overall amount that Oaklands need to raise (i.e. 50,000) is large. The future benefits for the Club and the Trust are major.

The venture is in conjunction with the Club and further promotes the Trust's role in relation to the long term operation and ownership of the Club by the fans.

In making their decision, the elected Trust Board (all life long City fans) carefully considered the merits of the project in accordance with its expenditure policy, the links with the community, the relationship with John Batchelor/the Club, the amount concerned, plans for applying Trust monies in other areas, and the arrangement with John Batchelor to acquire part ownership of the Club (and whatever entity owns the ground) in due course. Having considered these matters, the Board was unanimous in its decision to pledge 10,000 to the School's project.

The Supporters' Trust is now considering the details of schemes with York City feeder clubs and all other local junior teams/clubs whereby greater links will be developed between the Club and the local community. In addition, other ideas about furthering the Trust's community role will be considered.

The Supporters' Trust is here to make a difference for the future of York City Football Club.

PROUD TO BE YORK

Going forward the Club, the Trust and the School will work together to help promote further York City to the young students and to the wider community. We are confident that the Oaklands project will help deliver new supporters for the Club in the short, medium and long term. More people to be positive about the Club and Proud to be York.

 
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