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Firefighters and Oxford United FC team up to tackle discrimination

02 November 2021

RESIDENTS SHOULD not have to face discrimination in any form. That’s the clear message being sent out by Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service and Oxford United Football Club, with the two having recently joined forces to tackle all forms of prejudice.

Professional footballers and firefighters are considered community role models, particularly so in terms of professionalism and teamwork. The aim of the new partnership is to raise awareness and promote anti-discrimination, equality, diversity and inclusion throughout the county.

Rob MacDougall, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, commented: “Over the next year, we’re going to be working closely with Oxford United FC to bring firefighters and footballers closer together such that they can understand each other’s role and discuss the benefits of tolerance, showing how diverse communities can thrive. We’ll be taking a strong stance against discrimination.”

MacDougall continued: “There will be different activities and live discussions between footballers and firefighters, jointly promoting our respective campaigns. Our own is entitled ‘Fire Doesn’t Discriminate and Neither Do We’, while Oxford United FC’s support is firmly focused on the football community’s ‘Kick It Out’ initiative.”

Karl Robinson, manager of Oxford United FC (whose team swept aside Morecambe 3-1 at The Kassam Stadium last Saturday largely thanks to another imperious display from star striker Matty Taylor), added: “It’s a fantastic initiative. We’re proud to be working with the Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service on this. There are lots of similarities between what we do and how the Fire Service operates, but the central one for me is that everyone’s welcome. There are some exciting ideas in terms of collaboration and I look forward to being part of that in the coming months.”

Passion for equality and diversity

Rob MacDougall has recorded an interview for Oxford United’s YouTube followers (see above), duly sharing his personal passion for equality, diversity and a ‘no tolerance’ attitude towards discrimination.

His attitude is reflected in Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s ongoing recruitment campaign.

MacDougall noted: “If you want a rewarding career as part of your local firefighting team, we want to hear from you. We aim to become an employer of choice in parts of our community where we are currently underrepresented, whether this is in terms of gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

He concluded: “We want to attract people who will bring a diversity of life experience to the table and an understanding of the many different cultures, communities and religions that make Oxfordshire such a vibrant and diverse place in which to live and work.”