Students at the University of St Mark & St John will have more opportunity to play sport thanks to £203,065 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s University Sport Activation Fund.
The university is one of 62 universities to benefit from more than £11million of funding to help get nearly 195,000 new students playing sport.
The University St Mark & St John will increase its recreational sports offer through a new ‘Sport Activate’ programme over the next three years as a result of the funding.
Following consultation with students, Sport Activate will offer new activities such as water-sports, horse riding, ice/roller skating and innovative one-off events such as floodlit snow sports. The funding will make it easier for faculty, department and course groups to take part in fun sporting activities on a flexible basis.
Business Development manager David Ward, who led the university bid, said: “This is fantastic news for the university and the funding means we can enrich our current offer by providing a more diverse range of sports for students.
“The focus will be on fun, social and inclusive sessions with the ultimate aim of getting more students active through an enjoyable programme that can respond to and meet their needs.
“The programme will contribute to the health and wellbeing of all participants, improve the student experience and offer a number of personal development opportunities”.
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 maintain this level of participation and 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, 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 University of St Mark & St John we’re helping students develop a lifelong sporting habit while they study.”
The latest funding for university sport builds on Sport England’s highly successful three year ‘Active Universities’ programme which delivered a 2 per cent rise in the number of students playing sport regularly at the 41 university projects we invested in.
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