The Friends of Oakfield, situated in Walcot, Swindon, recently received a Swindon Sport Forum grant of £1,200 towards funding an archery sessions in their premises. This group is made up entirely of volunteers who support the Oakfield Project through a mixture of fundraising and grant applications to help provide equipment for young people who attend during the day at the project.
The Oakfield Project is an alternative to mainstream education for young people, supported by Swindon Borough Council and partnership schools, for young people who are at risk of exclusion from a mainstream school but still have the opportunity to receive education, and a planned career pathway to help set themselves up for adult life. It gives 14-16 year olds a second opportunity where the alternative could lead to becoming more disengaged from school and society or worse. Teachers, youth workers and staff engage these young people by building professional positive relationships with the students, and helping them prepare for transition learning opportunities so they are best placed to enter the world of work, further education or training and give themselves every chance of success as they reach adulthood.
The grant given by Swindon Sport Forum has funded two targets, bows, arrows and a teacher qualification for two members of staff. The club has become a very important part of the alternative education at Oakfield as participants must concentrate and hone their technique to become expert marksmen. It is used as part of positive reinforcement where young people are rewarded by the responsibility of taking part in a highly technical and precise sport. In addition, students can receive sports accreditation towards an ASDAN award, equivalent to a B grade at GCSE. This is awarded when students achieve 12 credits over a diverse range of physical activity related topics.
Paul Wainwright, Deputy Manager Informal Education said “The young people who attend The Oakfield Project may have had a challenging or a difficult period in some part of their young lives to deal with, which often impacts their main stream school life. Giving them a second chance and a broad education, also by rewarding them with different sports and activities, we can help them reach their full potential and lead better lives, based on increased confidence and esteem. Colleagues on the Friends of Oakfield Committee approached the Sport Forum, having heard about the diverse ways they help support sport in the town and suggested we apply. The process was easy to follow and on behalf of the young people it has made a huge difference to help motivate our pupils. We have a simple motto at Oakfield which is Believe that we can, help us to do and the support Swindon Sport Forum has given us is testament to this”.
Neil Bromley Grants Officer at the Swindon Sport Forum said “We are delighted to have supported this application which is helping some of the most economically deprived and socially challenged young people in our town. As a group of sport-orientated committed volunteers we work on behalf of the town to help sport succeed and flourish in Swindon. We support as many different sports we can and do so in different ways. This grant award is only one such way and we look forward to seeing more such sporting success stories across the town in the future”.