£447,995 awarded to Oldham Council to use football to boost the activity levels of people across the town.
An exciting new programme from Sport England, funded by the National Lottery, and delivered by the Football Foundation will support targeted communities in West Oldham get more active.
Active Through Football is providing Oldham Council, on behalf of a consortium of local organisations - which includes Oldham Athletic Community Trust, Action Together, ForHousing and the West Oldham Trust - with revenue funding to increase participation in football.
The consortium went through a competitive process to secure the funding which was open to a shortlist of areas across the Country where we see some of the greatest inequalities preventing communities being physically active.
The project will be targeted at people aged 16 and above, specifically those on low incomes, the unemployed, people from ethnically diverse communities, women and girls, and those whose mental wellbeing would benefit from their involvement in this type of project.
By focusing on a specific area in the borough, football will be used as a medium to bring people together, creating a common purpose and shared values, as well as supporting more people to get active by removing some of the common barriers to participation.
This will be done by investing in and working with community groups and voluntary organisations who are best placed and already have trusted relationships with the residents the project hopes to reach.
Councillor Zahid Chauhan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “This project is fantastic news for Oldham and our residents.
“Football helps to break down barriers and this funding will help us reach out to some of our more marginalised communities who, through no fault of their own, sometimes face various barriers to being active. Thanks to this project they’ll be given real opportunities to get involved in the sport as players, volunteers and coaches.
“We want all our residents to be fit and healthy and this project will deliver physical and mental health benefits, while also helping to create a real sense of community.”
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “There is a reason why football is followed and played by so many the world over. It brings people together and helps build connections in communities. It’s also the sport that is played the most in England and has a reach into places where our research shows activity levels are lower.
“Sport England is proud to be one of the funding partners helping to tackle these inequalities and to support more people from a variety of backgrounds to enjoy playing football and all the benefits that brings.”
Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This grant award to Oldham is fantastic news for the local community. Football is a game for everyone - regardless of their background - and it’s only right that people across all walks of life are able to play the nation’s favourite game.
“Over the past 21 years, we have been working with communities up and down the country to ensure everyone has access to play football.
“Thanks to Sport England National Lottery Investment, this new project will help to transform people’s lives by developing footballing opportunities for people over 16 who would otherwise face different barriers to playing, unlocking the many benefits of football for the community.”