Active Universities

A new initiative from Sport England aimed at improving the number of students involved in sport at university has become a massive success, with over 102,000 students playing sport in the past year – a figure up 20,000 on the scheme’s initial projected target.

Active Universities attempts to promote sport as an activity for life, rather than just for competition, and the results have really spoken for themselves – universities subscribing to the scheme have seen a 57% increase in students partaking in sport as a result of the initiative, meaning the overall number of students not playing sport has fallen. Significantly, the most impact has been seen in female and disabled students taking up a sport – the former having seen a 2% increase, with the latter seeing almost half of all disabled students playing sport once a week, a 3% increase on the past year, based on figures from the HE Sport Survey.

In conjunction with the initiative, universities in locations such as Essex have launched ‘Take Part Tuesdays’, which aim to promote sport by encouraging students to try a more obscure activity, or to reignite a passion for an old sport which they may not have taken part in for a number of years. This, coupled with other imaginative sessions such as ‘Frisbee Fridays’ and ‘Learn to Row’, have shown an increased demand for sports which are sometimes seen as difficult or intimidating as they become more accessible to the masses as a result of the scheme.

Active Universities has shown that there is a clear demand from students for activities which keep them active and healthy, without the added pressure which competition brings. It also shows that students are clearly still interested in taking part in sports, despite the restrictions of a busy university timetable.

More information on the Active Universities scheme can be found on the Sport England website.

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