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Philanthropy Report 2020/21

Enhancing student and staff wellbeing


Building on clear evidence that exercise and activity provide real benefit to health prospects, the University launched its Active at Oxford campaign in early 2020.

The University's Active at Oxford campaign launched in early 2020 to encourage participation in sporting activity, regardless of experience or ability. When lockdown hit just a few weeks later, Active at Oxford focused on promoting its Active Anywhere programme, making a wide range of sport and wellbeing advice and sessions available to members online.

The generosity of donors to the Active at Oxford appeal allowed the University to respond rapidly to the challenging circumstances faced by many students, either isolating in college rooms or in lockdown away from Oxford. As well as providing support for individual sports clubs, gifts to the appeal meant that all financial barriers to Active Anywhere were removed for students and staff throughout the pandemic. By summer 2021, more than 1,800 members had participated in almost 5,800 online classes, ranging from basic stretching sessions through to high-intensity circuits, boxercise and 18 other physical activity sessions, while also accessing nutrition workshops, healthy recipes and mindfulness activities.

‘Thanks to you and your support, we have been able to provide a vital lifeline to students’

Jon Roycroft

Jon Roycroft, Director of Sport at Oxford, said: ‘The past 18 months have underlined the powerful role that sport and physical activity have to play in supporting our physical and mental wellbeing and maintaining some level of positive social interaction, even under the most challenging of circumstances. Thanks to you and your support we have been able to provide a vital lifeline to students and staff with a broad range of offerings, from intense workouts to quick stretch classes. We have long understood how sport complements academic performance but never has it played such a vital role in supporting mental and physical wellbeing, when many of us were confined to our homes.’


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