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Brunel secures £184K Lottery funding to boost student sport participation

Brunel students will be encouraged to try out a range of new sports after the University secured £183,901 in funding from the National Lottery for its Active Universities programme.

Brunel’s ambitious programme, one of 41 university-based projects being backed by a £10 million Sport England campaign, will open up activities such as tennis, judo, swimming, cricket, and athletics to students who currently do little or no exercise, or who are new to the sports.

The Active University Programme will equate to a £350,000 investment into sport and physical activity at the University. In addition to the funding from Sport England, Brunel and national governing bodies of sport will also contribute to the scheme.

The University is keen to improve participation rates among women, disabled students and students from ethnic minorities, but the programme will be open to any student who wants to become more active or try out something new.

Paul Dimmock, Brunel’s Director of Sport, said: “The Active University programme is the most innovative sports development work ever undertaken at Brunel and is a great example of partnership working. I have ensured that students’ views are at the centre of the programme and, with creative thinking from the national governing bodies of sport, we will be able to stage an exciting and engaging programme for the student population. I am convinced the student experience will improve at Brunel because of the scheme.”

The funding announcement was welcomed by Hugh Robertson MP, the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, who said: “This funding for sport projects across the country is exactly what our Olympic legacy promise is about – offering more opportunities for people to get involved. This will boost university sport and encourage students to continue playing once their studies are over.”

Brunel is one of the best universities for sport in the UK and has invested over £14 million in its facilities over the last decade, including in an Indoor Athletics Centre, outdoor 400m track, sports halls for badminton and netball, and state-of-the-art synthetic courts and pitches.

These facilities have already made the University an attractive training base for top athletes and for the University’s existing sports clubs, but it is hoped that the Active Universities programme will help open up our facilities to a much broader range of Brunel students.

Paul Dimmock stressed that students will be able to get involved in the sports through a mixture of both traditional and non-traditional classes. “Our British Judo programme will provide opportunities for students not just to take part in traditional judo, but in self awareness and self defence sessions. This will connect more students with the basics of the sport and – who knows? – some may even go on to achieve major success, which would not have happened if it was not for the Active University programme.”

Active Universities will get underway at the start of the 2011 academic year. For more information on the University’s facilities, visit the Brunel Sport website.