Keele receives £108,000 to get more students active

Posted on 25 June 2014

Students at  Keele University will have more chances to play sport thanks to £108,141 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s University Sport Activation Fund.

The University is one of 54 universities to benefit from nearly £10 million of funding to help get nearly 180,000 new students playing sport.

Keele will provide its students with the opportunity to take part in social, low-key competitive sporting activities and encourage all students to engage in at least 1x30 minutes of moderate activity per week in line with national targets.  Keele University will offer a range of sporting opportunities to students based on their need and preferences providing an excellent student experience to our diverse student body.

From October 2014 the following sports will be available to all Keele students at a social level to encourage new participants with the emphasis in the title “Play 4 Fun”:

•    Lacrosse
•    Fencing
•    Rounders
•    Rowing
•    Boxing
•    American Football
•    Squash
•    Swimming - at Jubilee 2 In partnership with Newcastle Borough Council.,

“Play 4 Fun” aims at breaking down barriers to participation encouraging them to play low key, fun but still competitive sport with their friends.

In addition there will be opportunities for students to get involved volunteering either as a coach, an official or sports leader.

Angela Dale, Head of Sport at Keele, said: "Without help from Sport England and the Lottery funding and partnership from Newcastle Borough Council we wouldn't be in the position to offer such varied sporting activity. It is hoped that as the need was driven by the student voice, “Play4Fun” will inspire our students to have fun with sport while increasing their activity levels. The social aspect of the project will help to improve the health and wellbeing of our students both physically and mentally, helping us to provide an excellent student experience and improve the quality of life for our students."

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.

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 Keele University we’re helping students develop a lifelong sporting habit while they study.”

Karen Rothery, Chief Executive of British Universities & 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.”

The latest funding for university sport builds on Sport England’s highly successful three year ‘Active Universities’ programme which delivering a 2 per cent rise in the number of students playing sport regularly at the 41 university projects we invested in.