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Lottery boost to get more students playing sport

Sport England yesterday named 41 sports projects that will benefit from a £10 million National Lottery fund to get more university students playing sport.

The Active Universities projects will give tens of thousands of students the chance to try out a new sport, or get back into one they’ve tried before, as part of the mass participation legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Boosting student participation will have a lasting impact on grassroots sport because research shows that students who do play sport at university are far more likely to continue participating throughout their lives. It will also help tackle the issue of drop-off in sports participation that sees many young people giving up sport in their late teens and early twenties.

Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said:

“Young adults who are still playing sport when they leave university are likely to stick with it for life, so this is a good investment in the future. These projects have been chosen because they really listened to what students wanted, so we are confident they will succeed in increasing participation.”

Yesterday’s announcement was welcomed by the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP and Olympic Gold medalist, Amy Williams.

Hugh Robertson said:

“This funding for 41 different sport projects across the country is exactly what our Olympic legacy promise is about – offering more opportunities for people to get involved. This will boost university sport and encourage students to continue playing once their studies are over.”

Amy Williams, who won Olympic Gold in the skeleton at the 2010 Games, only took up her sport while at the University of Bath, having been a 400m runner at school. She said:

“Going to university is a great chance to try out something new and in my case that something new was the skeleton. Sport is an amazing way to make friends, get fit, have fun and pick up skills that could help you get a job when your student days are over.”

Recognising the strong tradition of competitive sport within universities, Active Universities projects will meet the need for more informal and social sporting opportunities. Chosen through a competitive process, the investment decisions announced today include:

  • £65,275 for a multi-sport project at the University of Birmingham that’s aiming to increase sports participation at the university by15%. The sessions will include Run in Brum and Swim Buddies and most will be led by student volunteers
  • £300,000 for the English Lacrosse Association to work with 30 universities to create more social and competitive opportunities to play the sport. The project intends to get an extra 6,000 students playing lacrosse
  • £107,313 for a joint project at Staffordshire University and Keele University to get 2,000 students involved in a wide range of sports in a social setting. Hundreds of volunteers will be trained up to make sure the scheme becomes a firm fixture for students of both universities for years to come.

Chair of British Universities and Colleges Sport, Ed Smith, said:

“This represents a great outcome for Higher Education and a fabulous opportunity to increase the depth and breadth of participation by young people whilst they benefit from academic studies and the overall student experience at university. The link between sport and life skills is evident from the way employers seek out people who are active in sport and this will be a boost as graduates make their way into the job market.”

Notes to Editors

Sport England is focused on the delivery of a mass participation legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We invest National Lottery and Exchequer funding in organisations and projects that will grow and sustain participation in grassroots sport and create opportunities for people to excel at their chosen sport.

For more information please contact the press office: Peter Dickinson on 020 7273 1800.

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national organisation for higher education sport.

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