the oxfordshire ball


About the project

‘the oxfordshire ball – kicking the silence out of domestic violence’, football + arts event, 2006 – 2007 ‘The Oxfordshire Ball’ ran for two years from 2006 to 2007.

In its first year, it was a women and girls’ five-a-side football tournament and art exhibition, which was held at the Marlborough School, Woodstock, on Saturday 22 July 2006. The day was used to raise awareness about domestic abuse. The ‘Yvonne Heap Marquee Gallery’*, displayed some of my own artwork alongside paintings created by women who resided in the Oxfordshire Women’s Aid refuges. Some of the art was auctioned on the day. The project gained front page coverage in the Oxford Mail (10 June 2006).

As part of the project, Stephen Fontaine (a former Oxford City player) coached an under 16’s girls five-a-side football team; some of the girls in the team had grown up in homes where there had been a history of domestic abuse. BBC1 made a documentary around the girls’ stories and their progression through training. They also filmed on the day of ‘The Oxfordshire Ball’ to see how the girls’ team got on. The resulting documentary was shown in September 2006 on the BBC1 ‘Inside Out’ programme.

In its second year, the project was extended to a two day event which additionally included a men’s five-a-side tournament held again at Marlborough School on 28 and 29 July 2007. Stephen coached a men’s team for this event, involving residents from a local hostel. The ‘was it my fault?’ exhibition in Oxford Town Hall was organised to be open at the same time as ‘The Oxfordshire Ball’ in July 2007.

Funding was received from the Pete Evans’ Fund for Children and Sport, Oxfordshire Community Foundation, Midcounties Co-operative, and Sport Relief with business sponsorship from Cafe Baba and Bradford Construction and Decorating (Oxford).

Money raised was donated to Oxfordshire Women’s Aid and to the Protective Behaviours Programme with the Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service which supported and worked with young victims of crime.

Some of the media coverage:

*in memory of Yvonne Heap and with the permission of her family. Yvonne was murdered by her partner in 2003.