College wins £130,000 boost to get students fitter

Students at East Durham College.
Students at East Durham College.

A college has been given almost £130,000 to help get its students more active.

East Durham College, in Peterlee, was awarded £128,921 in funding from Sport England to reduce the number of their students who are completing less than 30 minutes of activity each week of their lives.

East Durham College's Peterlee campus.

East Durham College's Peterlee campus.

Sport England’s new strategy ‘Towards an Active Nation’ has made tackling inactivity a priority.

As part of the scheme, the organisation is investing £5million into projects in colleges that will support their inactive students into regular activity.

Around one in five college students are inactive and many come from groups that have lower socio-economic status or from ethnic groups that are less likely to be active.

Colleges in the programme will target these groups specifically to reduce the activity gap between them and their student peers.

Research by Sport England found that nearly a fifth (roughly 138,000) of college students are inactive, doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week as per England’s chief medical officer’s recommendations.

Nearly two thirds of the inactive group do nothing at all, while it was also found that students who go to college are more inactive than students who go to sixth form or university.

Mike Diaper, executive director of Community Sport, said: “College is a crucial time in a young person’s development.

“It is often the first time that activity is not a compulsory part of their study programme and therefore all too many young people become inactive.

“This funding will allow colleges to be innovative in addressing the needs and desires of their students to help embed activity in their lifestyle in college and for years to come.”

East Durham College’s project will use a three-tier approach to encourage students who are currently inactive.

The three-tiers will embed regular physical activity within curriculum; work with learners to agree, train for and undertake physical challenges to raise funds for social causes; and provide a fun-packed social calendar of activities that are social and physical, outside of regular sport.

Through this approach, the college aims to re-engineer learner perspective of physical activity and promote understanding that an active lifestyle is fun, social and improves mental wellbeing and confidence, as well as improving physical health.

Sport England is a public body and invests more than £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport.

It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active - like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.

For further information on the national programme please contact: SportEnglandFE.Team@sportengland.org