Katie Lightowler



01 February 2015 22:20

What Have the Sabbs Done For You? 6 Months In – VP Sports Development

It has reached that point in the year for me to update you all on what I have got up to so far! I’ve been extremely proud of the work that we’ve done so far. Here is a taste of what I’ve been up to:


BUCS Conference Passes!

BUCS Conference Passes!

Much of July was spent at Conferences and networking! I travelled to two conferences, NUS in Bolton and BUCS Conference in Swansea. BUCS was the more useful of the two, where Jamie Wilson (Intra-Mural Officer) and I got to know other Sports Leaders across the country. I sat down with the BUCS Chief Executive Karen Rothery to discuss some of the issues Southampton Sport faces. Megan and I launched the first round of funding to student groups.


August was spent working closely with Sport and Wellbeing. I secured an additional £5000 through the SUSU Innovations Fund to expand the Focus Sport program to include an additional five sports. Jack Beckett, the AU Development officer, worked closely on this with me and I’m pleased at the professionalism through feedback and communication which exists between S&W and SUSU through this program now.

BUCS Sports Development team visited during August as a result of my conversation with Karen Rothery. The team helped us to formulate a plan for a sports strategy. I had picked up when I came into the role that there was no definitive plan between SUSU and Sport and Wellbeing with regards to Sports Development. The sports strategy is the key to helping this and also for major stakeholders higher up in the University to recognise where sport going and to give the help we need.

We recruited a new Intra-Mural Assistant to help us in the delivery of the Intra-Mural program that was taken on. Jamie and I were clear that transparency was needed for the Intra-Mural program and looked for an easy platform to manage leagues and for captains to manage. The result was the Top Tournament page (found here).

August also saw the creation of the Team Soton Nights, which was led by the AU Social Officer, Lewis Kelly.













Throughout the summer I had been working with KPMG and Under Armour on the delivery of Team Southampton kit. This communication grew stronger in September as we worked on dealing with club orders and the opportunity of an online kit store.

Funding round 1 commenced. It took a week and a half to go through all 600 applications and ensure we were being fair to all through strictly following Sports funding guidelines. I applaud AUC for the level of the commitment they gave to help go through every application.

I spent a good proportion of time ensuring that block bookings were suitable for each student group and also fighting for more space in facilities. We gained 6 additional hours of Sports Hall space, 2 hours more space on the Rubber Crumb and 3 hours further on the grass grids for student groups. Sport and Wellbeing were incredibly helpful in helping us to balance the needs of the average member and student groups.

We received feedback from Student services that the relationship between Sport and Wellbeing and SUSU was stronger than ever before. This feedback I feel proud of and put it down to our close collaboration over our joint sports strategy, focus sports and block bookings.

FresherTeam Southampton Tour to Salou was launched and is now being led by AU Tour Sec Georgie Cousen. We have more people coming on Tour this year than last and hope to bring back the trophy again!

We started working closely with the Alumni department on Alumni day (to be announced this week!) and branching out Team Southampton to alumni. I was introduced to the ‘Crowd-funding platform’ which student groups all have access to. You can find more information on how to use the platform here.



Bunfight and Taster Weekend hit! I managed to get round all 91 groups at Bunfight and speak to each one about issues they faced. There was also training for all Outdoor sports groups. 










Ben Flett, Varsity officer, and I launched Varsity with Portsmouth! It will be on 15th March.

I had several meetings in October with University staff working on key goals including lecture recording. This project is ongoing and I hope to see success in future months. I sat on the Education Enhancement Fund board alongside David (Union President) advising the University on funding key initiatives.

I took some leave in October to travel to the U.S. to watch my brother compete in a big sporting event. Whilst out there, I took the opportunity to speak to the Athletic Director of Georgetown University in Washington about the sports set up there and about creating a strong sporting identity.

We worked with RAG during the month to prepare Sports Teams for participation in Movember and other fundraising initiatives.



Georgetown University, Washington


November saw a leap forward in our Sports strategy. We had the first Sport Experience Board of the year where we talked seriously about how to tackle the joint Sports Strategy. Consultation meetings were held and a survey is being released shortly on this.

I had several meetings with University staff around the value of gym membership and am pleased that SUSU and Sport and Wellbeing are now jointly working on evaluating gym membership and looking into different membership models. We are keen to see that a result of this will be a monthly membership payment option and tiered membership depending on usage. The Active Nation deal has certainly helped break down some barriers in this area.

SUSU Sports Staff and I met with TakeThat Photo and confirmed times for team photos this year. We will be using a different company and it has been decided that a Team Southampton Yearbook will also be created.


Funding round 2! Another few days with 200 applications to go through. Again, a very difficult task but I am confident we were fair and where we could not fund, we looked to direct people to other easy funding sources.

We had several meetings with Portsmouth regarding Varsity and another big kit order was completed. The Online Kit Store was launched and it was confirmed that we would have Team Southampton stop above the current SUSU shop (as part of the ‘Shop On Top’). This is going to be launched soon.

I spent more time at Winchester to work on travel arrangements and also ensuring students were aware of the great sports deals there with membership.


I started work on a key proposal for Team Southampton signage to be placed throughout University facilities. This proposal has received very positive feedback so far and I am working closely with University marketing and facilities to see it go through.


We held our first Coaches forum, which gained some positive feedback and got more people thinking about the future of Team Southampton.

I took the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovations around the Boat Hard to look at investment in facilities over the next few years. Watersports has been targeted as one of many areas of investment.


And that concludes the first 6 months! Many of my projects are ongoing and I am confident that there will be more successes in future months. If you are interested in going for the VP Sports Development Role in the upcoming elections feel free to drop me an email on Vpsports@susu.org to find out more!


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2 Comments on "What Have the Sabbs Done For You? 6 Months In – VP Sports Development"

  1. katielightowler
    05/02/2015 at 11:13 pm Permalink

    Hi, any further news on Old Boys? Need to book it off work pretty soon..

  2. katielightowler
    07/02/2015 at 12:26 am Permalink

    Hi, any news on Old boys? Need to know to book the time off work! Not sure why the date gets released so late every year, us alumni have to plan things well in advance! Especially if the date is a bank holiday weekend like last year – terrible idea!

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