AN OXFORD United legend has backed the club's aim to raise £30,000 to celebrate its charity's 30th birthday.

Peter Rhoades-Brown, who made more than 100 appearances for the U's, has praised the work of Oxford United in the Community and is calling on fans to help the charity continue to thrive.


Mr Rhoades-Brown, who also played for Chelsea and was one of the original founders of the organisation, said: “We began this journey 30 years ago when we started a football in the community scheme.

"We’ve come a long way since then and we all look forward to continuing to improve the work the charity does with so many residents for years to come.”

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He was speaking at Windmill School in Headington last week - the site where the organisation held its first ever session in 1989.

Pupils helped the club to launch its latest fundraising campaign called 'dream big' which hopes to raise £30,000 in the 30th year.

Oxford United in the Community now runs 40 football sessions every week alongside a range of other sporting, educational, cultural and social activities to help people in Oxford.

It works with all age groups from two-year-olds to pensioners and supports thousands of people every year.

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Chris Lowes, Head of Operations at Oxford United in the Community, said: “It’s quite humbling seeing the positive impact the charity has had on communities and individuals over many years.

"Oxford United is at the heart of the community and that’s why celebrating and highlighting the work of the charity is so important.

"There are so many success stories behind the scenes and through the Dream Big Campaign we can be even better. The future is very exciting.”

The initiative was one of the first of its kind in the country and pioneered work with the city's most disadvantaged people.

It was formed under the stewardship of Mr Rhoades-Brown and he is now a patron.

In 2008, the community scheme became the official charity of the football club which helped it to expand its work to use football as a positive force in the local area.

In recent years it has organised for Syrian refugees to attend a game at the Kassam stadium and helped create a sensory room for supporters who may find matchdays overwhelming.

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Now, almost all professional football clubs have followed suite with similar community-based programmes.

It is hoped that U's fans will chip in to support the work the organisation does.

A wishlist has been produced which includes items such as a £15 football, a £25 training top, £50 for bibs for schools or £125 for 3G pitch hire.

Jeremy Faulkner, chair of trustees said: “The work of United’s charity is simply inspiring and by working together we can achieve so much more."