/ £300,000 grant will strengthen University's 'number one' student experience through sport

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£300,000 grant will strengthen University's 'number one' student experience by offering new social sports activities

  • Social sporting activities across the University of Sheffield will double thanks to Sport England funding
  • Grant will encourage 4,000 extra students to get active
  • Scheme urges students and staff to ‘see sport differently’

The University of Sheffield will double the number of social sporting activities available to its students and build a culture of ‘sport everywhere’ as it further cements its reputation for being the best place in the country to live and study.

The University, which was last month voted Times Higher Education's number one university for student experience, has been awarded £218,616 from Sport England’s £10 million University Activation Fund, which supports Higher Education institutions in developing their sports offer and creating a ‘sporting habit for life’.

The University already has 51 strong and successful sports clubs, with more than 3,500 members, as well as 4,000 regular participants involved in its Intra Mural programme.

However, this new funding which totalled £300,000 thanks to further contributions from Sport Sheffield and the University’s Alumni Fund will allow Sport Sheffield to increase the number of low cost and convenient social sporting activities on offer to students from eight sports to 19 sports, as well as develop a new Sport Everywhere ethos across campus.

Kate Rickard, Access Sport Officer, who submitted the bid, said: "This will ensure our students are not only academically excellent, but have a fantastic range of social sporting opportunities available to them during their time at the University.

"Sport contributes so much to the student experience. Not only will our students be happier and healthier, but it will help them develop employability skills like leadership and teamwork.

“Sport Sheffield is already starting from a fantastic position, but this will propel us even further.”

The funding will allow an extra 4,000 students to take part in schemes like the University's Give it a Go programme, which provides a range of new sports and activities for students to try, and create a further 500 student volunteer opportunities.

Sport Everywhere will promote the wide range of activities on offer across the University as a whole by mapping cycle and running routes, green spaces and equipment hire points – encouraging students and staff to 'see sport differently'.

The bid will allow Sport Sheffield to employ two extra members of staff focusing on social sport, as well as fund new equipment.

It will also help extend the University’s award-winning Juice scheme, which supports the health, wellbeing and happiness of staff through offering healthy living advice and a programme of sports activities encouraging them to try something new.

Professor Tony Ryan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science and chairman of Sport Sheffield, said: “This success with Sport England is a great development for the University, meaning we can bring more opportunities for participation in sport to a wider student population.

"The University cares for the wellbeing of its staff through its Juice programme promoting physical activity and in the city of Sheffield we have the Move More initiative.

"Sport England has ensured our students will be able to get involved through this tremendous award."

Andrew Dodman, Director of Human Resources at the University, said the award would also benefit staff.

He added: “We want to be an outstanding employer that attracts, grows and engages talented people – and talented people need to be healthy, well and happy. Health and wellbeing are therefore at the heart of our employment offer.

“Health and wellbeing in the workplace often starts with identifying and delivering business requirements such as reducing sickness absence or increasing profitability. We're different.

"We believe that the strongest and most sustainable approach is to understand what individuals want in relation to their health and wellbeing and support them to achieve this."

The bid was supported by the University’s Alumni Office, which provided match-funding of £50,000.

Miles Stevenson, Director of Alumni and Donor Relations, said: “The generosity of our alumni and supporters proved to be an important - perhaps the key factor apart, of course, from the excellent application by Kate - in obtaining this award."

The bid was also supported by partners across the city including South Yorkshire Sport, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Hallam University, a number of national sport governing bodies and Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield.

Mike Diaper, Sport England Director of Community Sport, 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 Sheffield we’re helping students develop a lifelong sporting habit while they study.”

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 25,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline and Siemens, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

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