Students at Bournemouth University are being urged to give sport another go after a project secured £266,338 in National Lottery funding from Sport England.
BU’s Free Your Fitness project is being backed by Sport England’s £10 million Active Universities fund to get more university students playing sport.
Forty other projects are part of the initiative, which part of the mass participation legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Free Your Fitness will give students access to a wide range of new and refreshed sports activities at a variety of locations across the community. Students will be offered a membership deal across a range of facilities and will also be offered discounted rates in return for volunteering within community sport. They will also be encouraged to gain qualifications in coaching and officiating, allowing them to manage their own activities and events.
The project was developed after research found a lack of time, cost and travel to be the main barriers to participation. By creating a programme of sports and activities that are low cost, accessible and within a reasonable travel distance, Free Your Fitness aims to get hundreds more students playing sport.
Steve Jones, Community, Culture & Sport Manager at BU said: “The funding is great news for the University as it will help us encourage more students to discover the long-term enjoyment of regular sport participation. It further strengthens our local and regional partnerships so that we can provide improved access to a range of facilities and sports close to where students live and study. sportBU staff are now eagerly looking forward to starting the project.”
The Active Universities projects will give tens of thousands of students across the country the chance to try out a new sport, or get back into one they’ve tried before.
Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said: “Young adults who are still playing sport when they leave university are likely to stick with it for life, so this is a good investment in the future. These projects have been chosen because they really listened to what students wanted, so we are confident they will succeed in increasing participation.”
President of the Student Union Toby Horner said: “This is an extremely positive leap forward for Sport at BU and a step towards promoting it as part of a healthy lifestyle. Targeting students who may currently perceive sport as an undesirable choice is an exciting prospect, as is promoting the wider benefits that result from schemes such as this. Most importantly, this is recognition that sport really can be, and should be, for all.”
For more information about BU’s Free Your Fitness campaign please contact Stephen Jones on 01202 961814.