UWE Bristol wins funds to increase participation in sport

Issue date: 27 June 2014

The climbing wall in UWE Centre for Sport

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has won just over £200k from Sport England for a project called 'Off the Wall, Something for All' designed to increase the number of students taking part in sporting activities.

Alex Isaac, UWE Bristol Head of Sport, said, "We wanted to involve more students in sport in a different way to all the work we do with our competitive teams. There are some students who feel intimidated by the high levels of skill in the competitive teams but who still want to have a go. We consulted over 1,500 students and by listening to their responses we have come up with a programme that we believe will inspire more to join in.

“The new activities will be delivered by the UWE Centre for Sport in partnership with the UWE Students Union. We have introduced a 'Learn to' Programme in partnership with Bristol Sailing Club that will give more students the chance to try out rowing, sailing, gig rowing, canoeing and windsurfing. We are also keen to encourage social sports that are all about groups of friends getting together and playing games like dodge ball, rounders and beach volley ball for fun.

“In addition to this we are also investing in equipment for students to use like cycles and archery kit. We will be working with cycling clubs to help map out routes for the students to use that start at the Frenchay Campus and also encouraging students to use established tracks like Trim Trails around Bristol as a fun way to keep fit out of doors.”

'Off the Wall, Something for All' is all about erasing the barriers to participation in sports and activities at the University by making sport accessible to everyone and getting more to join in the fun and get fit.”

UWE Bristol Centre for Sport made a collaborative bid with UWE Students' Union to win funding from a £10 million of National Lottery investment from Sport England's University Sport Activation Fund that is to be shared by 54 universities aimed at getting around 180,000 new students playing sport regularly.

Sport England Director of Community Sport, Mike Diaper, said, “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 the 54 universities we're helping students develop a lifelong sporting habit while they study.”

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.

Karen Rothery, Chief Executive of British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), said, “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.”

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