The University of Gloucestershire has teamed up with Active Gloucestershire to offer students the chance to be part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy-led Sports Makers programme.
In a bid to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and endorse the Sport Makers ethos to simply Make Sport Happen, the University’s UNIversal Sport programme will recruit students to act as Sport Buddies. The ten to 15 volunteers will offer support to other students who engage with the University’s counselling services, many of whom suffer with mental health issues.
Sport buddies will undergo Sport Makers’ training provided by Active Gloucestershire and mental health awareness training provided by student services at the University of Gloucestershire, as well as ongoing one-on-one guidance and support.
Steffi Bednarek, Head of Student Counselling, Health and Wellbeing at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “The role of the Sports Buddy is to make contact with students who might benefit from peer-to-peer support and to promote the health benefits associated with sports and exercise. They might go to the gym with them, play table tennis or go for a run. The overall goal is to help students integrate back into day-to-day University life.”
UNIversal Sport is being backed by Sport England’s £10 million Active Universities fund to get more university students playing sport, as part of the mass participation legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The University secured £164,163 in National Lottery funding from Sport England in 2011.
Andy Herbert, Coaching Development Manager for Active Gloucestershire, said: “Being part of Sport England’s London 2012 sports legacy programme, Sport Makers will allow students to bring the Olympic and Paralympic values to life across the University and inspire other students to make a positive behavioural change and take part in sport and physical activity.
“This is a unique opportunity that will also help students to boost their CVs and therefore increasing employability and provide them with the opportunity to learn new skills or take further qualifications. Participating students will also benefit from Sport Makers rewards – upon attending a workshop they will receive a free Adidas t-shirt and draw string bag and upon completing ten hours of volunteering they will be entered into a ballot to receive free Olympic and Paralympic tickets.”
Dr Diane Crone, Reader in Academic Development (Health), added: “The positive benefits of taking part in fun and physical activities such as sport or exercise are widely accepted and recommended to help people feel better generally about themselves and to help improve mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Often however people struggle to have the motivation to take part and having social support through the use of a Sport Buddy will help many people access sport and exercise who normally find it difficult to do.”
The Sport Makers programme is part of the People strand of Sport England’s London 2012 mass participation legacy programme Places, People, Play.
Sports Makers is a nationwide campaign that will use the inspirational pull of London 2012 to recruit, train and deploy 40,000 new sports volunteers aged 16 years and over to make sport happen across the country. Sport Makers will have a positive and inspiring introduction to the world of sport volunteering via a series of workshops delivered locally by a training provider and in conjunction with Active Gloucestershire. It is anticipated that many will continue to volunteer, further increasing sport participation long after the 2012 Games are held in the UK.
Between February and March, Active Gloucestershire will hold Sports Makers workshops across the three University campuses in Cheltenham and Gloucester.
For more information about Sport Makers www.sportmakers.co.uk
Further information about UNIversal Sport can be found at www.glos.ac.uk/universalsport or follow us on Twitter @UNIversalSport
Source: University of Gloucestershire