Seventeen young footballers have almost hit their fundraising target to take part in the trip of a lifetime – two weeks at an international youth football camp in Russia.
The footballers, from East Oxford United Football Club, have raised almost £10,000 to travel to Oxford’s twinned city of Perm – but the club still needs to raise a further £1,200.
They will take part in football tournaments, friendly matches and other competitive sports, including basketball and volleyball, with youngsters from Russia, Tajikistan and other countries.
Fundraising activities have included packing bags at Tesco, washing cars and taking part in the United Oxford Cup. Dozens of people have also made individual donations.
Oxford City Council has given £500 towards the total, while funding has also come from the Perm Association and £3,200 from the ward budgets of 11 City Councillors.
Oxford Bus Company has sponsored the team and will provide free return bus tickets to the airport.
The money will pay for the costs of getting to Perm, including flights and visas. All costs once they arrive in Perm will be covered by the hosts.
Accompanying the 17 young footballers on the trip will be four parents, the club’s coaches and club chairman Hassan Sabrie.
Mr Sabrie was awarded the Oxford Volunteer of the Year award at OCVA’s Charity and Volunteer Awards 2017 for his work with the club and in Oxford’s communities.
The project has been organised by Perm City Council and the Youth Sports Federation.
Councillor Dee Sinclair, Executive Board Member for Culture and Communities, said: “It is wonderful that Oxford has come together to help make this once-in-a-lifetime trip happen.
“Chances like this to meet and interact over a shared interest with peers from other cultures are so crucial to bringing communities across the world together -- this is what twinning works to achieve.”