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Friday 26 September 2014

Solent awarded bursary to help students become active

Students at Southampton Solent University will have more chances to play sport after being awarded £77,963 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s University Sport Activation Fund. Southampton Solent is one of only 62 universities to benefit from more than £11 million of funding to help get nearly 195,000 new students playing sport.

The programme offers a wide range of mainstream and new sports that are chosen by the students. At Southampton Solent the scheme catered for around 200 students on a weekly basis in the 2013-14 academic year, and operates on a “turn up and play” concept.

Matt Bishop, Sports Development Manager at the University, says: “This Lottery funding from Sport England means we can provide an inclusive programme of participation sports for all university students. Having listened to what our students want we can now offer a range of ‘Give Sport a Try’ sessions along with some social league based sports which we believe will improve the health and well-being of our students, raising their aspirations and their quality of life at University.

“It is the first time we have managed to acquire major funding in this area of sport, and we are looking forward to working with Sport England to increase participation and enhance our sporting pathway.”

Team Solent American football

Currently, just over half (52 per cent) of higher education students take part in sport at least once a week. The funding will support projects to not only maintain this level of participation but also increase it by trialling new methods of getting students into sport and offering a wider variety of opportunities to keep them playing sport during their time at university. The projects will particularly concentrate on those that do not currently play. It will also help tackle the issue of many young people giving up sport in their late teens and early twenties.

Sport England Director of Community Sport, Mike Diaper, says: “We know universities play a vital role in maintaining and growing a student’s love of sport. They can encourage them to continue playing once they’ve left school or help those less sporty discover a new sport. By investing in Southampton Solent University we’re helping students develop a lifelong sporting habit while they study.”

Karen Rothery, Chief Executive of British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), says: “Universities have really risen to the challenge to increase sport participation, firstly through Active Universities, and now through the University Sport Activation Fund. We at BUCS are delighted that our work with Sport England over the past five years has resulted in such a success story, and are confident that we will continue to enhance the student experience through sport in many creative ways throughout the life of the University Sport Activation Fund delivery.”

The latest funding for university sport builds on Sport England’s highly successful three year ‘Active Universities’ programme which delivered a two per cent rise in the number of students playing sport regularly at the 41 university projects that were invested in.

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