Stratfield Brake – Guide to Campaigning

21st Jan 2022

Friday 21 January 2022

Hi everyone

I hope this update finds you well and I hope those Yellows, unfortunate enough to be missing the match through isolation or illness, are well on the way to recovery.  Tomorrow’s game should be electric and we’d urge anyone still undecided to come and join what should be an amazing atmosphere.

This week has been a blur as we have been in meetings and constant dialogue with the club, councillors and stakeholders regarding Stratfield Brake. Many of you I’m sure were disappointed with the early tone of the County Council Meeting but in truth there were lots of positives to take and the decision to allow more time to consult is neither surprising nor wholly unreasonable. The key now is to react over the coming weeks in a strong but controlled manner. We need to continue to make our voices heard but also show we are reasoned, responsible and understand the issues involved.

Having spent the last few days canvassing reactions and feedback from both sides we have put together a few pointers on contacting the Council. We strongly advise all supporters who are passionate about this issue to contact them through the links below and to add your voice to this debate. We have written a few pointers below for those of you looking to put something together. Hopefully they will help frame what you want to say.


THE OXVOX GUIDE TO CAMPAIGNING FOR A NEW OUFC & COMMUNITY STADIUM AT STRATFIELD BRAKE

WHY?
Never underestimate the power of individuals coming together as one voice! An OUFC chant starts out with one or two voices, but the more that join in, the more sound and impact it creates. That big sound then gets heard by the players on the pitch and starts to have a positive effect. Lobbying our local councillors about the new stadium proposals works in the same way. Maybe one or two voices go unheard, but a few thousand?!

WHO?
Right now, it is Oxfordshire County Council who are the key decision maker, so it is especially important to write to your County Councillor.  However, County Councillors and District/ Oxford City Councillors will know each other and talk to each other – so if you want to write to your District councillors as well, that can only add more weight!

If you don’t know who your local councillors are, you can find out online, by putting in your postcode at this website: https:// www.writetothem.com/   You can send an email directly from that website but sending directly to their council email address will be more impactful; once you know the councillor’s name you can find them on the Oxfordshire County Council website and use the contact details provided there https://mycouncil.oxfordshire.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx

We also encourage you to post on the Oxfordshire County Council consultation page which will be at letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk and live from January 25th.

WHAT?
We decided not to just provide a template for people to copy and paste.  Why?  Because the message in your letter or email will have more power if you write it in your words. However, we have put together some tips as a guide to get you going.

Keep your letter or email:

Short
Try to keep emails/messages (and sentences!) short and to the point.  You don’t need to use lots of big words or say the same thing five different ways. Just pick two or three key points. Councillors get hundreds of messages a day so a clear and specific letter or email will stand out more and have more impact.

Polite
State your case but always keep it polite. We are trying to win support and show how this project could be of great benefit to the area, not just to OUFC. Resorting to insults and negativity hurts our case. Thank councillors for taking the time to read and consider your email or letter.

Positive
Try to emphasise what the new stadium can bring to you, the club and Kidlington/the county as a whole.  Tempting though it might be, don’t get bogged down writing about Firoz Kassam or the whole history of the Club. Councillors can and will access this information elsewhere.  What matters most is what’s happening now, and what we want the future of the Club to be.

Personal 
There will be lots of similar messages so ones with a human element will stand out more than cut and paste templates. Say why the Club matters to you and what it gives back to the Oxfordshire community. Do you have kids or grandkids?  Ask them to write or draw something as well! 

Numbers
Numbers matter. However, you decide to do it, do it! There will be a vocal element intent on stopping this project and it is up to us to be even more vocal. Write an email, send it, share it, encourage others to do the same!

Possible points to include

  • Community hub. This project would greatly improve sporting, educational and leisure facilities to the area.
  • Infrastructure. The provision of foot bridges from Water Eaton, extra investment in public transport, cycleways and walkways is a huge benefit to the area and would increase sustainability.
  • Greatly reduced parking to discourage cars and increased public transport and match day ’specials’ including electric buses along with plans to protect the village from any adverse parking and traffic.
  • Jobs and commercial boost. Local job creation in both the building and running of the stadium and increased revenue for local business.
  • Carbon neutral project.
  • International class facilities for the county.
  • Our Licence agreement runs out in 2026 and leaves us in real danger of becoming homeless.
  • If you live in or around Kidlington/Cherwell Council then please make that clear in your email.
  • Kidlington Parish Council (and hence the villagers) will no longer have to pay for the high maintenance costs of Stratfield Brake.

As well as contacting the Council we are pushing on with gathering signatures for our petition of support. If you haven’t had the chance to sign online then visit https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/StadOUFC  and sign there. If you have, and want to help more, then please nudge friends and relatives to help.

We will also have a stall at tomorrow’s game and will be heading out to gather signatures by hand as well as signing up new members and renewals. We would like to welcome the forty or so new faces who have signed up over the last few days and urge anyone still considering to get involved and help in our fight to secure the future of the club we all love. Please come and speak to us at the stall and let us know your thoughts.

An exciting day ahead tomorrow and we will be there early and can’t wait to speak to members and supporters before watching the Yellows take three vital points!

Hope to see you there and as always…….COYY !

Paul

Chairman
OxVox