A group of 18 universities in England have been successful in receiving British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Active funding linked to projects tackling inactive female students, using physical activity to tackle mental health issues and inactive students from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Collectively these universities will be receiving £168,000 ($209,000/€187,000) to support activity aimed at targeting more than 5,000 new student participants.
The opportunity has been made available through the National Lottery funding BUCS received from Sport England and builds on the successes of the two previous rounds of BUCS Active funding.
An additional intervention looking into increasing the activity levels of students from low socio-economic backgrounds is being funded as a result of the research BUCS commissioned the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University to carry out earlier this year.
The research found that these students were less active and less likely to be a member of a sport or fitness club, or volunteer in sport and fitness activities.
The universities who will be receiving BUCS Active funding for the delivery of projects tackling inactivity in female students through the 2019-2020 academic year are Anglia Ruskin University, Bournemouth University, University of Exeter, Northumbria University, University of Nottingham, University of Surrey, and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Royal Holloway, University of London was also successful with its submissions across the two other interventions - using physical activity to tackle mental health, and inactive students from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Joining them in the former are University of Brighton, University College London, University of Leicester, University of the West of England, University of West London, and St Mary's University, Twickenham.
Completing the latter intervention’s recipients are University of East Anglia, University of East London, University of Essex, Manchester Metropolitan University and Nottingham Trent University.
BUCS will be working closely with the 18 universities as they deliver their projects with the aim of sharing key challenges and successes with the sector, to help other universities that may be looking to target a similar demographic of students.
During the three phases of BUCS Active, 52 projects within 42 English universities will have received funding to deliver projects.
It is anticipated that around 15,000 students will benefit from this once phase three is complete.
"The impact of the projects on students in the first two rounds of BUCS Active projects has been very positive, not just in relation to increasing student levels of physical activity but also their mental well-being and overall student experience," Matt Holdstock, BUCS’s senior development manager, said.
"We have taken some great learnings over the last two years from universities that have run successful projects and look to expand on this for the universities delivering over the next academic year."
It is claimed the projects will also deliver against the mission statements set out in the inclusion and physical activity and health strands of the BUCS strategy - to make inclusion and accessibility the norm, and enable the higher education community to become more active more often.
In addition to this, it is stated the projects will meet Sport England outcomes around physical well-being, mental well-being, individual development, and social and community development.