From April 2018 to March 2019, Richard Venables is appointed High Sheriff of Oxfordshire.

His focus for the High Sheriff’s year will be on youth participation in sporting and cultural activities with a specific focus on disadvantaged areas of Oxfordshire, disabled participation and highlighting mental health issues in Oxfordshire’s schools.

Richard believes passionately that sport and physical activity is an essential component to a happy and healthy life and can transform lives.  This should commence from an early age and be maintained through to old age.  Wellbeing in the workplace is an increasingly understood component to creating a productive and enthused workforce.

He strongly advocates the benefit of a collaborative approach between business, Local Authorities and the voluntary sector to create successful outcomes.

Money raised by the Corporate Challenge and other fund raising activities will be channeled to a range of charities that support youth engagement in both sport and cultural activities in Oxfordshire to drive real results.  Money raised will be match funded.


Access Sport enhances the life prospects of disadvantaged children by providing opportunities to experience and enjoy the power of sport.

They do this by building thriving community sports clubs, led by inspirational local volunteers, in the most disadvantaged urban areas. These clubs then provide life-changing opportunities for local, vulnerable young people whilst creating a lasting, locally-owned community resource.

The Access Sport Oxford programme was started in 2014 and in the last 3 years it has enabled 2,500 children to get involved in sport in East Oxford, encourage 88 more coaches and 126 more volunteers to get involved. The aim is to extend this programme to 2021 with the joint funding of Oxford city Council and Sport England and potentially extend the coverage to other parts of Oxfordshire.

The Thomley Activity Centre is a hidden gem located in East Oxfordshire. It is a respite day centre for autistic and disabled children and their families. It was founded in 2002 and provides a safe, accessible and fun place to spend time together as a family.

We are seeking to look at ways in which we can introduce sporting activities into Thomley and assist with achieving their Strategic Plan.

Richard will be working closely with Oxfordshire MIND to develop a programme to use arts and culture to assist with mental health issues in schools.  Richard will be working with Artsworks, a bridge organisation for the Arts Council England to design a match funded arts project.

He is also fund raising at the start of his year for a programme called ‘ The Black Dog’ which is provided through SANE.  More information is set out in the blog below.

The High Sheriff works closely with Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) who look after all monies raised. There is a particularly strong link now being formed between OCF and business through the  Reciprocate business network, chaired by Richard.

Richard is an ‘evangelical’ parkrunner. parkrun is such a simple concept: turn up every Saturday at your local parkrun, usually at 0900 and run 5km, or if you’re a junior then 2km every Sunday. It doesn’t matter how fast you go. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. What matters is taking part.

There are now over 500 parkruns in the UK and over 1.5m people have participated since it started in 2004.  There are 6 parkruns in Oxfordshire in Oxford Cuttleslowe Park, Oxford Harcourt Hill, Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Didcot and soon another will start in Witney.

Richard would like to see a further parkrun start in East Oxford and is in disucssions to make this happen during 2018.

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