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Oxford City lead way for the deaf

Oxford City, a local FA Charter Standard Community Club, has become one of Oxfordshire’s first deaf friendly football clubs. The Club has recently joined the NDCS Deaf Friendly FC project and has committed to opening up the game to deaf people. Designed to make football more accessible for deaf children, the Deaf Friendly FC project was set up in 2007 and has so far attracted 56 football clubs in England, including giants such as Manchester United and Arsenal. Over the years the project revolutionised the game at all levels for deaf children, reaching nearly 1,000 deaf young players and training up over 400 coaches on how to communicate with them.

Hayley Jarvis, NDCS Sports and Leisure Activities Manager, explains, “We know there has been a severe lack of football opportunities available from grassroots to elite level for deaf children and young people in the past. Deafness makes it harder for children to communicate which can be very isolating. Many deaf children and young people find it difficult to participate in football because clubs are not set up to provide good communication. This project is revolutionising the sport at all levels for deaf children and young people. Every football club that shows its commitment to deaf children by agreeing to sign the pledge will meet with a NDCS dedicated football development officer and receive expert knowledge and resources to aid the club in being truly deaf friendly. We are delighted that Oxford City has signed the pledge, and committed to giving deaf people an equal opportunity to play football.”

City Chairman, Brian Cox says, “Oxford City is proud to have signed the Deaf Friendly Football Club Pledge. We played the skilful GB Deaf squad in a pre-season friendly and our interest and involvement has progressed from that point. We are looking forward to developing our playing and coaching opportunities for young deaf people in our community and ensuring we help them reach their full potential in the sport. We are committed to supporting deaf footballers and ensuring that the Club and its officials are deaf friendly.”

Resources that will be provided to clubs that sign the Pledge include the opportunity to take part in NDCS unique Coaching Deaf Footballers course, developed with support from The Football Association, a British Sign Language for Football course, a coaching DVD, practical support and assistance from NDCS volunteers, and help in promoting any deaf friendly football activities. The NDCS Deaf Friendly Football Club Project is being funded with the help of a grant from the UK’s largest sports charity, the Football Foundation (FF), which invests money from its partners – the Premier League, The Football Association, and the Government – into good causes. A further funding of £129,623 has been awarded by the FF and the Football Association has provided £10,000 towards continuing the project in 2010-2011.

Deaf children and young deaf people who would like to join Oxford City should contact Colin Taylor on 07817885396 or email: ctoxford@btinternet.com

For more information on how you, your child or your club can get involved please contact NDCS Football Development Officer by email at football@ndcs.org.uk or phone: 0121 234 9820 (v/t). You can also find more details at www.­ndcs.­org.­uk/­football .

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