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Bid to get students playing more sport

Active Universities

Sport England has announced a £10 million National Lottery funding round, Active Universities, aimed at increasing the number of university students playing sport regularly by 100,000.
Our Chief Executive, Jennie Price, was joined by Olympic Silver medalist, Heather Fell, and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Ben Bradshaw for the launch in Sheffield. Dozens of students from Sheffield Hallam University were on hand to show the fun and friendship they get from playing sport.

With just under three in 10 university students currently playing sport at least three times a week, Active Universities is a drive to create accessible sporting opportunities for the 72% who say they would like to do more sport. It is the third of our competitive themed rounds aimed at addressing challenges to grassroots sport and opportunities to increase participation.

“We know that young adults who are playing sport regularly by the time they leave university are likely to stick with it for the rest of their lives”, said Jennie Price. “That’s why this themed round will really boost our drive to change the nation’s sporting behaviours, and why I’m urging people to come forward with innovative ideas to increase student participation.

“There’s already a strong tradition of competitive sport within universities, but this is a big opportunity to increase participation through more informal and social formats.”

We’d like to see universities engaging with a range of partners in developing innovative bids that will tackle the barriers to student participation such as:

  • An insufficient number of coaches, volunteers and co-ordinators to increase and sustain student participation
  • Over-structured and inflexible sporting provision within universities which doesn’t cater for all students, particularly those who don’t want to compete for their university
  • A failure to replicate the sporting opportunities that young people had previously enjoyed at sports clubs in their local community
  • Capacity issues at universities that don’t have sports facilities on their sites and haven’t yet formed partnerships with other providers. Research shows that nine out of 10 university sports halls are at capacity during term time.

You can find out all about the Active Universities fund, its aims and the criteria for applications on our funding pages.

Active Universities opens for applications on 29 March 2010 and will close on 23 June 2010. Sport England are holding four pre-application workshops on 7 April in Bristol, 9 April in London, 15 April in Birmingham and 19 April in Manchester. 

Click here for further details of the Active Universities funding