Sports Council

 

Meet our four representatives that work with Kennedy our Sports Officer, help with current projects, complete their own projects and are involved with discussions of sport on an operational level. They will each build reports about the current state of clubs and their activity.

Fearghas Walmsley

Council Group:

Trampoline, Cycling, Karate, Table Tennis, Golf, Rugby League, Jiu Jitsu, Ultimate Frisbee and Archery. (9 Clubs)

Priorities:

In order to help address a continuing issue of facilities for training especially among teams who require pitches, women’s rugby especially stated that training space was a continuing problem, I would encourage participation with local schools and clubs that have their own facilities and hope that through a mutual exchange of coaching assistance/aid we would be able to gain access to use their facilities to give our teams more training time.

Encourage teams to invest in training their own officials, especially through the sports ambassador programme as it gives teams funding to do so, meaning that teams will have a reliable number of officials to call upon for games, saving money in the long term that could be used elsewhere.

Set up a means through which teams would be able to promote their events and fixtures around the university through notice boards/television screens opening sport at Leicester to spectators from all across the university to encourage and support our teams. After witnessing the support given to our teams during Varsity 2017 and 2018, I would like to encourage this behaviour all year round.

 

Leigh Gell

Council Group

Women’s Football/Futsal, Fencing, Equestrian, LUSSC, Mountaineering, Women’s Rugby Union, Dodgeball, American Football, Tae Kwon Do, Ladies Hockey, Men’s Hockey, Men’s Futsal, Running & Athletics, Mix Hockey and Volleyball. (15 Clubs)

Priorities:

The main way I would like to improve Sport is to create an environment where sports teams do not compete against each other for recognition or awards such as Club of the Month but where the bigger teams help the smaller teams. A sense of unity across team Leicester is just what we need and without it we will not be able to achieve our goals at as quickly as if we work together.

Another thing that I think is necessary to improve sports at Leicester, which works closely with unity is ways in which we can allocate the scarce training facilities that we have in a better way. If teams were closer with each other they may be happier to share fitness sessions for example which could result in teams being able to use the facilities for skills-based training and match preparation as a result. I believe Team Leicester has improved since my first year and I have noticed the impact of both Steve and Kennedy in a positive way.

Another way I would like to improve sports would be to hold more fundraiser’s and look at ways in which we can raise funds through alternative means than asking the University. Every club has made it clear they require more funds to improve their performance and instead of comments such as Leicester don’t care about sports and won’t increase funding we should take the matter into our own hands and find an alternative solution. DMU have a close connection with Leicester City, if we could find Sponsorship through this with a different Club or help and encourage every club to fundraise it will result in a positive improvement to the complaints everybody currently has. Perhaps these funds could be used to help those who cannot afford the gym membership but would like to get involved with sport, we have identified this is the biggest problem and the prices will not go down but rather than give up, I would like to explore all possible solutions and when they are all used together they have the potential to be successful.

 

 Mia Nembhard

Council Group:

Badminton, Squash, Netball, Swimming & Water polo, Tennis, Cricket, Men’s Football, Basketball, Lacrosse, Boat and Men’s Rugby Union (11 Clubs).

Priorities:

1) Greater attention on the mental health of committee members:

Without the voluntary work of committee members, the clubs could not run or be half as successful. However, year-after-year committee members feel pressured to prioritise their committee work over their actual degrees. There is also the added pressure for the clubs to receive accolades and awards at the end of the year, often leaving ‘unsuccessful’ committees feeling unappreciated and not recognised for their contributions, time and effort. This can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s mental health. There are existing student mental health check-ins available, however I feel that having this kind of responsibility needs a specific review on how they can receive help if they feel they aren’t coping with their role. This would include 3 stages:

- Reclassification: The idea of what a sports club does and offers has drastically changed from years ago. From winning awards such as Student Group of the Year, the university must adjust to the fact that sports clubs are inherently social spaces that do more than just gameplay. This multi-faceted nature of modern sports club puts more pressure on committee members to be supportive to members physically, emotionally and socially. A review on how committees operate, from a recommended ratio of members to committee positions, to the appointment of a committee welfare officer role that would be similar to the Development officer but work with committees to assess the growing need for additional support.

- Readjustment: Committees are made aware of the help they may be able to receive if a committee member(s) isn’t coping whether that be an issue with mental health to generally struggling with the role and mitigating the likelihood of this stage, especially if the added pressure and work-time management may be contributing to a decline in mental health.

- Recognition: SAAL officially recognising the issue at hand and the achievement of ALL committee members regardless of their awards for that year. For example, an end of year committee meeting with The Sports Officer and SAAL where they officially congratulate all committees and receive some type of certificate or award not just Club Captain or Committee of the Year. Many students undertake the committee member role in order to increase their employability, they should be recognised and supported too. Captains would work with their Development Officer, similar to a degree tutor and receive references to endorsements on platforms like LinkedIn. The Sports Award should continue to be under review and I would improve it by:

- Getting clubs/winners follow up incentives to help boost employability / future success as a club or individual

- Awards for supporting roles e.g. vice-captain, best duo, best team Leicester club collabs to boost better cooperation between clubs.

2) More inclusive framework to help clubs give their members the best time they can doing sport at university:

The lack of diversity in Team Leicester is an issue that is known but has been at a standstill on how to approach this due to the complexity and sensitivity of the topic. By working on creating associations with inclusive networks whether that be LGBTQIA+/BAME/Disabled/Low-Income associations. The aim would be to create wider access to these minority groups through campaigns. Funds can be used to subvert the social stigma around Team Leicester to increase the membership of BAME students that might be convinced that they don’t fit the Team Leicester image or are put off by prices and the

cultural element of feeling alienated in large, predominantly white, cis sports groups. We could also work with direct financial sponsors that help to work on ways to allow disabled people to participate more in sport with adapted gameplay or simply money off for % of students through the networks. The project can also include educational aspects such as workshops during minority celebrations like Pride and BHM for e.g:

- Racial bias workshop during BHM for Team Leicester members.

 

3) Operation Team Leicester: Improving the social presence and financial aspects of sport on campus.

Working with the Sports Officer, SAAL and the senior members of the university to increase funding to improve sports facilities on campus. During the Student Experience dinner where I sat next to the VC, Paul Boyle I listed the phases that the university should undergo to see more sports on campus, as with less 18year olds joining university they need to diversify their selling approach.

1 – Advertising: there should be more promotional elements of sport on campus to provide prospective players and students with info of sport at Leicester.

2 - The sports area of campus should be treated as a public space and invested in by eventually providing more space for gameplay such as an additional sports hall. We should also look to diversify our outreach but encouraging mature students and staff to play sport.

3 – For the near future, players should be financially assisted with off-campus gameplay. Being able to travel to Oadby should not be criteria to join some of Team Leicester’s largest sports clubs.

 

Hannah Belcher

Council Group:

Airsoft, Boxing, Cheer & Stunt, eSports, Hiking, Judo, Kayaking, MASS, MMA, Motorsport & Karting, Quidditch, Pool & Snooker, Surf and Ice Hockey & skating (14 Clubs).

Priorities:

Equal opportunities for all sport clubs – I believe all sports teams should be located together at Fresher’s fair. We should host an event whereby teams and individuals can receive recognition for their hard work other than Sports Awards, and sports groups should be allowed to be in the running for ‘Club of the Month’ and ‘Club Colours’ throughout the year. There is also a need to increase the presence of these clubs on all social media platforms highlighting every club success and to promote upcoming events.

 

2) ‘Give it a go’/ ‘Bring a Friend’ Sessions – Cheer and Stunt held one of these at the end of last year and it was highly successful. Unlike taster sessions which are created to provide potential members a chance to try out the sport before joining, these sessions encourage members from other societies to try out other sports throughout the year. Many of the sports that fall under ‘Student Sport Group’ are not “traditional” sports i.e Esports and Quidditch. This would be a fantastic opportunity for these societies to showcase what is actually involved in their sport so other people can develop a better understanding and try something different without the commitment of signing up. If people do decide to join up then that is an added bonus.

3) Raising Awareness of disabled sport – Holding a range of para sporting activities that are not currently offered so a) people with disabilities can get involved but also b) students who do not have a disability can try out the sport and gain respect for the sporting performance of athletes who compete in them. Examples include Boccia, Paracheer, Goalball, Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Rugby. The International Paralympic Committee have a whole section on their website with resources dedicated to hosting events like this, which can be found at https://www.paralympic.org/the-ipc/paralympic-school-day. I would draw upon our contacts such as PhD student Nick Cummins, who is taking part in the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships this summer, and alumni Danielle Brown who won a gold medal at the both the Beijing and London Paralympic Games in Archery, to attend these sessions and give motivational talks on overcoming adversity.