national lotteryUniversity students will have more opportunities to get into sport thanks to £10 million of National Lottery investment from Sport England’s University Sport Activation Fund. Fifty-four universities across the country will share in the funding to get nearly 180,000 new students playing sport regularly.

Sport England Director of Community Sport, Mike Diaper, said:

We know universities play a vital role in maintaining and growing a student’s love of sport. They can encourage them to continue playing once they’ve left school or help those less sporty discover a new sport. By investing in the 54 universities we’re helping students develop a lifelong sporting habit while they study.


Currently just over half (52 per cent) of higher education students take part in sport at least once a week. The funding will support projects to not only maintain this level of participation but also increase it by trialling new methods of getting students into sport and offering a wider variety of opportunities to keep them playing sport during their time at university.  The projects will particularly concentrate on those that do not currently play. It will also help tackle the issue of many young people giving up sport in their late teens and early twenties.

Universities receiving funding include:

  • Nottingham Trent University in partnership with the University of Nottingham has been awarded £296,680 for its IN2Sport programme, offering students the chance to take part in sport without the commitment of regular training. Weekly sessions in sports such as badminton, futsal, netball, handball, rounders, tennis and lacrosse  will be offered at both universities with sessions run by student volunteers. It will target those students who may not wish to play in a university team, have been unsuccessful at trials, unsure of their standard of play, or want to move up a level from what they are already doing.
  • The University of Sunderland has been awarded £163,260 for its Urban Active programme that will offer fun, social and engaging sport on and off campus. It will offer students the chance to take part in one of three ways; students can borrow equipment and make use of open space either at the university or beyond, join in sessions at their halls of residence or try out a new sport a one of the themed events taking place either on campus, at the beach or at one of the sports venues.
  • King’s College London’s Be Active programme has been awarded £242,853 to increase the number and variety of sport on offer. Sessions will be offered at times and locations to suit students’ needs, particularly those who are currently inactive so they can take part in ways that best suit them.

Karen Rothery, Chief Executive of British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), said:

Universities have really risen to the challenge to increase sport participation, firstly through Active Universities, and now through the University Sport Activation Fund. We at BUCS are delighted that our work with Sport England over the past five years has resulted in such a success story, and are confident that we will continue to enhance the student experience through sport in many creative ways throughout the life of the University Sport Activation Fund delivery.


The latest funding for university sport builds on Sport England’s highly successful three year ‘Active Universities’ programme which delivering a 2 per cent rise in the number of students playing sport regularly.