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Wednesday 7 October 2015

Saints Foundation open day

At the end of their first week at Solent, more than 50 first year BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development students were given the opportunity to make an impression at the Saints Foundation open day.

The foundation is an independent charity, aligned to premiership club Southampton FC, which runs a number of inspiring projects across the Southampton area. The charity engages with thousands of young people and vulnerable adults, and invests £1.5 million into the local community.

Students were keen to find out how they could get involved with the Saints Foundation

Course leader Kevin Harris and Senior Lecturer Henry Dorling have been working hard on building up the partnership with Saints Foundation for the last year and a half, and were very pleased that this has opened up a world of opportunities for their students.

Southampton Solent University alumnus, Mike Dixon ran the event.

At the open day, Henry said: “Students can have real life experiences that will embellish their course, as well as having real world sports development experience, which is essential in terms of employability and entrepreneurship.”

There were a great range of volunteering opportunities up for grabs at the open day. Projects included:

  • SaintsAbility, which offers regular football development sessions for young people and adults with physical and cognitive impairments;
  • Senior Saints, working with people with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients, using the sport and memories network; and,
  • Saints Girls, a female coach-only project encouraging girls between the ages of 14 and 16 to get involved in playing football.


The students came armed with CVs and were keen to talk to Project Officers to sign up to volunteer in Southampton. First year student Harvey Willis said: “I think it has been a brilliant day. I wanted to see what’s out there and what volunteer work I could get into. Of course, I’m here to get my degree but I really want to get involved and hopefully the timetable for the project I’m interested in will suit the times of my lectures.”

First year students in front of the famous statue of Ted Bates.

It was fantastic to also see a number of our alumni on the day, who now work for the Saints Foundation after taking part in community projects during their studies. This clearly showed the first year students that a full time career in the industry could be available to them, if they make the most of the opportunities on offer.

Southampton Solent University alumna, Paula Taylor heads up many projects for the Saints Foundation

Paula Taylor, project officer running Saints Girls, is one of our alumna, graduating later this year. Having also studied BA (Hons) Sport and Development, she says: “Solent opened up my knowledge to a lot of things. Their High Performance Academy gave me the leeway into Southampton and the Hampshire Football Association.”