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- 29 September 2014 00:00
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Eight universities have just received funding from Sport England’s University Sport Activation Fund to create more sporting opportunities for students, taking the total number of universities to benefit from the money to 62.
Over the next three years, the University Sport Activation Fund will invest over £11.3 million to support universities to get nearly 195,000 new students playing sport by offering them the chance to take up a new sport or continue playing a sport they used to play at school or college.
This work is part of Sport England’s wider aim to get more 14- to 25-year-olds playing sport every week and reduce the proportion dropping out of sport once they leave school.
"We want to get more people playing sport regularly and working with universities is one of the ways we are going to achieve this.
"They play a vital role in maintaining and growing a student’s love of sport by helping them to continue taking part once they have left school, or helping those less sporty discover a new sport.
"By investing in the 62 universities we’re helping students develop a lifelong sporting habit while they study.”
Currently 52% of higher education students take part in sport at least once a week.
The funding will support all the projects to not only maintain this level of participation but also increase it by trialing new methods of getting students into sport and offering a wider variety of opportunities to keep them playing sport.
The projects will focus especially on those that do not currently play, and help tackle the issue of many young people giving up sport in their late teens and early twenties.
One of the eight universities to benefit from the additional funding is University of Gloucestershire.
They have been awarded £201,815 for their UNIversal 2.0 project, which aims to help students make the transition from school to university sport easier.
"The funding from Sport England’s University Sport Activation Fund will make a huge difference to sport at our university,” said the University of Gloucestershire Director of Sport Dr Andy Pitchford.
"It will help us secure properly trained activators and coaches who will deliver sport at the right time, place and price for our students.”
Sport England’s insight shows that students who take part in sport while at university are more likely to continue playing throughout their lives.
The Active People Survey shows that individuals who have obtained a degree are likely take part in more sport per week than the general population.
The University Sport Activation Fund builds on Sport England’s previous funding of universities through the Active Universities fund.
In 2011, 41 projects were awarded a share of £8 million of National Lottery funding to encourage students to try new sports and continue playing throughout their time at university.