Do Sabbs Actually Do Anything? – Sports Development
“It’s halfway through what has been an extremely exciting term in office so far, and so this week, the Sabbatical team are writing mid-term reports to update you with what we’ve been up to and the sorts of things we’ve been dealing with, as well as the sorts of plans we have for the remaining 6 months.
You can read up on our regular reports to Union Council and goals here, as well as our manifestos (just click on your favourite face) here, and remember, in a month’s time, we’ll be electing the next Sabbatical team – so if you have any questions about our roles – get in touch!
Also, next Tuesday and Wednesday at 5pm, we’re running a Twitter Q&A session – just use #askSUSUsabbs and join the discussion!
The Sabbatical Team”
So it’s my turn to tell you what I’ve been up to for the past 6 months. As not to make it too long I’ve just highlighted some of the bigger things I’ve worked on, and picked out a few of the high (and low) points of the year so far.
AU training spaces
In terms of big pieces of work this whirlwind ride of a sabb year definitely started with a low! Shortly after taking up post in July I had received news that two training venues that many of our AU clubs used had been taken out of use due to damage. Stoneham hall was to be closed indefinitely and the old sports hall (in the SUSU building) closed for an unknown length of time.
We set out straight away to try to minimise the impact that this would have on our clubs. Sport & Wellbeing (who manage most of the sports facilities) agreed to fund training time in external facilities for the number of hours lost by the AU from the old sports hall, and on top of this we negotiated additional training time and storage in the hall at Glen Eyre, as well as utilising SUSU facilities such as the cube.
All of this meant a lot of upheaval for clubs though and this is still something that we are trying to get right and will continue working on throughout the rest of the year.
Sport & Wellbeing SLA
One thing that was highlighted when the old sports hall was taken out of use was that SUSU (or the AU within it) did not have any kind service level agreement with Sport & Wellbeing. If I’m being perfectly honest it shocked me when I realised that all of the interaction that SUSU and S&W have is pretty much done on the strength of a handshake.
Starting by putting to paper how both parties saw the relationship as it is now (the amount of disparity here also highlighted the need for some sort of written agreement), we formed an initial agreement as to how we interact and what is expected of each party. We have amended it once since, and I see it as being quite an iterative process to get it just right.
Intra mural sport
After discovering that Sport & Wellbeing planned to make substantial changes to their intra mural sports programme this year, we arranged a Q&A and feedback session between sports reps from societies and JCRs and a staff member from S&W to get their view on the changes. Whilst they agreed with some of the changes were for the best they were very unhappy about others particularly the lower capacity for 11 a side football compared to last year, rugby 15s being replaced by rugby 7s and Hockey 11s being replaced by rush hockey.
Armed with this feedback we managed to get S&W to address and remedy all of these issues within two weeks, and have continued to work with them on improving communication with teams and improving the programme for the future.
We worked with the university on the trial phase of a programme called goFIT. It is based on a successful programme at MIT that aims to encourage and facilitate a more active lifestyle based around an online community. You sign up as a team and log “movement minutes” on the website where there are also resources (both central and user generated), to help or possibly even inspire you.
The trial phase seemed to go well, and hopefully the full programme will be rolled out and promoted in the near future, so watch this space!
Sports experience board
We have established a sports experience board between SUSU and the university that will meet four times a year in order to discuss strategic aims with regard to sport and large scale projects that we will work together on.
So far we have been mostly laying the groundwork with the first meeting deciding the terms of reference and the second creating our service level agreement, but in the remaining meetings (amongst other things) we will be discussing the exciting subject of the possibility of developing new sports facilities.
Some big things I’m working on now
- A ‘the big home game’ campaign to raise the profile of our top clubs and get supporters along to watch their games.
- This year’s annual Varsity cup when we will be taking the fight to Portsmouth for the first time
- Getting a trophy cabinet in a prominent place in the main SUSU building to show off the huge achievements that all of our student groups regularly gain.
- Developing a sports development zone strategy to look at what are our long term aims for sport at Southampton and how do we achieve them.
Thanks for reading my blog, and if you’d like to be doing these kinds of things next year why not run in the upcoming elections either for my role or as one of the sports development zone’s student leaders (AU officer or Sports Participation Officer)? And on that note I must give a little mention to my two student leaders as I know I wouldn’t have been able to achieve even half as much without them. If you would like any more information on my role, or those of the student leaders or have any questions you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.