Live Campaigns: Sports Bursary

In General

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Campaign update from Union President, Ben Dolbear

Earlier in the academic year, the Students’ Union launched its first ever Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Strategic Plan, which details our plans for how we intend to build a sense of equity and belonging for all of our student members and staff, through key areas of work from representation and participation, through to insight and culture. In light of this launch, our VP Sports, Matt Smith, noticed a lack of established mechanisms for supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part in sporting activity.

According to the Sutton Trust, a UK-based educational charity which champions social mobility, physical activity has a significant positive impact on developing the ‘essential life skills’ that are crucial in preparing students for their careers. As such, SUSU is prioritising equity of access to sports for students, which also aligns with our strategic goal of achieving a target of 75% of students engaging in our activities programmes.

We know that the cost of sports club membership can be a barrier to participation for students from low-income families, and in line with our EDI priorities, Matt has taken the campaigning initiative secure funding in order to launch a means-tested Sports Bursary. The intended beneficiaries of this bursary are students who sit in the category of IMD (Index of Multiple Deprivation) Quintile 1.

Eligible students have been contacted by the University’s central communications team, and applications are open now, having already exceeded 300. Students can apply for up to £200, with those in most need prioritised. We look forward to reviewing the impact of this ambitious scheme in coming months, and to campaigning for long-term, ring-fenced financial investment for widening access and participation in sports among our student community.

Ben Dolbear
Union President 2021-22

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