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Tuesday 7 March 2017

Sport students drive community initiative

A community project led by Solent University students is helping local team, Netley Royals Football Club, expand as a club and allowing more children to play sport across Southampton.              

The student led project, which sits outside of studies, has been wholly developed by Peter Stott, third-year football studies student. Peter has been instrumental in creating a large voluntary student workforce with Netley Royals FC. A number of students, from the University now take part.


Peter said: “Volunteering with Netley Royals has given me the opportunity to coach various age groups and increase my knowledge and coaching experience. The club have supported me throughout and are always available to give advice.”  

The project began in early 2015, and has continued to grow with the support of students from Solent University.

“I have always enjoyed coaching and know that Grassroots clubs such as Netley rely on volunteers to help the club run effectively. With help from the University, we now have 12 student coaches associated with the club and we started with four. The club understand that we are students and are very supportive – each coach has a parent to help with any relevant paperwork, such as registration forms, to ensure we can manage workloads,” added Peter.


Students from the University organise training sessions to coach children ranging between the age of four and 12, meeting on a weekly basis to train.

Matt Gover Chairman from Netley Royal Football Club added: “The student coaches from Solent University help coordinate games and activities in a very professional manner. As a result of their growing support, the club has expanded and we now have over 100 children registered.

“We pride ourselves on being community focussed and working with the students has taken this to a greater level. The sessions are always fun and enjoyable whilst helping the children improve in all aspects of football. The students help with running the team on match days where children get to play against other teams from Hampshire - we even had a visit set up with Southampton FC players, Francis Benali and Matt Le Tissier!”

Tracey Bourne, Football Studies Course Leader at Solent University said: “As well as developing employability skills, this is another example of the fantastic work and commitment our football studies students are undertaking in the local community. A number of the students involved are also in their final year and commit a significant amount of hours per week to the project.”