Katie Lightowler



28 June 2015 20:30

My year as VP Sports: thank you Team Southampton

So here it is, the final blog. It’s been a busy year, hard work but also a fantastic experience. Here is what I’ve achieved, alongside the help of student leaders, committees, Presidents, staff and external companies.

Sports Strategy

10892001_842158425856199_8001773058414550279_nI’ve worked this year on bringing the University sport strategy and the Union sports strategy under the same umbrella. Our roles are more defined and clear to each other, as are our joint goals. This has already started to help move mountains for sport at the University.

Evaluation of Sport and Wellbeing membership

When the Union took over Intra-Mural this year, one clear issue cropped up. We managed to reduce membership fees to £5 per player for participating in leagues. However, each player also needs to purchase £145 S&W membership in order to participate. There were more than a few teams who pulled out due to this requirement. It has been estimated that around 400-500 people are not playing because of this barrier. I have worked through the year to get the University to recognise this and they have now started proper investigation into membership options, travelling to other Universities to figure out which membership model is best to improve participation.

Delivery of an improved and expanded Focus Sport program

One of the first things I did when into the role was to secure an additional £5000 to expand our Focus Sport program. I also spent a great deal of time ensuring the program was more flexible per sport. The program has gone from 5 to 10 sports. Our results have improved dramatically in these sports. There is more work to be done this year but I’m really pleased with the expansion of the program.

Improved access to Sports Facilities

Our campus gym is known for overcrowding. Unfortunately there is no simple solution to this and instead we have looked into other options to make gym facilities more accessible. Mayflower gym has now been opened and has almost as much space as Jubilee. Perhaps the biggest achievement however, has been the partnership with Active Nation. With your membership to S&W you can now use all Southampton Active Nation facilities for free (includes the Ski slope, Athletics track, pool, gym facilities and more)!

Investment into Sport Venues

We have pressured the University to invest more into its facilities this year. This summer, we will be seeing a £35,000 investment into the Squash courts, and there will be a big investment into the all-weather pitches at Wide Lane (Rubber Crumb and Astro turf) within the next year.

DRAINAGE at Wide Lane is a huge issue that is now fully on the University agenda, much, much more so than it has ever been in the past. I will be passing on the key contacts to Jamie and with a bit of luck, drainage will be targeted as a key area to solve next year.

Delivery of Intra-Mural program

The Union took over the Intra-Mural sports program at the start of the year and I’m pleased to say its been a huge success. We have more participants than ever before, with 1500 at our Summer Tournament alone. We have brought it under the Team Southampton arm and made it our own. Huge thanks to our IM Officer, Jamie Wilson, and staff who have really made this happen.

Mental health in Sport

This May saw the launch of a new mental health in Sport campaign, which links to the ‘Elephant in the Room’ campaign by Beckie, VP Welfare. We were the pilot University of a seminar put on by Student Minds and are joint National campaign leaders (with Nottingham University). Look out for a blog post through BUCS from my Nottingham counterpart and myself soon.

Travel – SHB minibus deal

SHB are a one of the most used minibus companies outside our own fleet by Sports groups. We have been having conversations with them regarding a deal and the final agreement should be finished within the month ready to start in September. This agreement will involve an expanded fleet, allowing for minimal stress regarding transport to fixtures.

Creation of a Sports Participation committee

Our AGM saw the creation of the first ever Sports Participation committee. This committee sits under the SP Officer and involves positions including Disability in Sport Rep, Women in Sport Rep and LGBT* in Sport Rep amongst others. This is a big step for us as a Union and will allow a lot more focus on target areas.

Team Southampton, Yearbook and Under Armour partnership

We have seen more teams take on the Team Southampton kit and represent us in the kit this year. This change is key to helping our University sport image more professional and more of a joint community. There is now an off-field option with clothing available to try on in the Shop on Top, and there will be a fully functioning online shop in the near future. There is also a new Team Southampton yearbook. Make sure you order yours by Tuesday 30th! More details on our Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/TeamSouthampton.

There has also been work done on Team Southampton signage to go up through all of our sports venues. We are working closely with University Estates and Facilities, as well as an external signage company to have proper Team Southampton signs put up over summer.

Alumni connections

Our alumni day was bigger and better than ever this year. Our Alumni branch has now come under the Team Southampton umbrella. We also featured in their newsletter and have received a greater number of donations from Alumni to student groups this year.

Team Southampton Coaches forum

We have set up a coaches forum during this year. It is important for us to gain feedback from not just Presidents, but also coaches and experts in their sports.

Varsity, AU Ball, IM Ball

On the 15th March we took around 1500 students to Portsmouth University to play the Annual Varsity match. We won on Portsmouth soil for the first time. It is safe to say this was the highlight of my year! AU Ball sold out in record time and we had our first ever IM Ball. These events are already planned to be bigger and better next year!


Team Southampton has done more joint fundraising than ever. There was a huge amount more involvement with the Big Give than we have ever had. There were a great number of people involved in ‘Gunge your Captain’, the Colour Run, and the AU Ball raffle. As well as this, we saw several events through the year, which contributed to some of our main charities and also to Marie Curie, BUCS main charity.


That rounds up my main achievements during the year. I pass on the baton to Jamie with full confidence. All that is left to say is thank you. Thank you to my student leaders, to AUC and to IMC who have put so much hard work in through the year and often do not get recognised. Thank you to Union staff, thank you to Club Presidents and committees. Thank you to the other Sabbatical officers! Without your support, many of these achievements would not have happened.


I have thoroughly enjoyed the year, thank you Team Southampton, and good luck to Jamie!





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