The University of Salford Students’ Union has long held a passion for student sports and fitness. Our students are represented across a variety of sports, including participation in Union led competition and more widely in the community through local leagues and clubs.
This passion has led to a renewed development and institutional wide focus on the sport offer at Salford, with a newly developed Sports Strategy, set to head for student consultation and launch later in 2016. The new strategy aims to elevate sports outcomes, leading to a greater participation by all staff and students, forming part of the new #TeamSalford brand.
Due to successful funding bids from Sports England and University of Salford Alumni, the Union has been able to buy and support students with improved and modern equipment, such as the purchase of new boats for the rowing club.
Our on-campus facilities include a fully equipped contemporary gym, 25m pool, 4 fitness suites, rock climbing wall, and multi-use sports hall. These facilities are open to all students and staff for memberships and offers a well utilised community outreach programme.
The Union facilitates through key funding, participation in around 40 different sports of which 27 teams compete in the British University and College (BUCS) sporting leagues, and elite provision opportunities for elite athletes.
The Union also provides tiered layers of lower commitment sports and fitness activity for those students who may not have the means or commitment levels to participate in sports clubs.
Our newly launched Intramural sports programme has been a great success, timed with opening of brand new on-campus residences nearby. The intra-hall rivalry in this low cost, social leagues has been fun to watch and formed great bonds across those in and out of halls.
Our Give Sport a Go (GSAG) programme, funded by Sport England has seen a large proportion of our students, especially those from international backgrounds, take out membership passes, allow them to enjoy a variety of different sports and activity during semester.
The importance of physical activity for wellbeing and health for our nursing and social care students who experience tough mental environments and experiences while learning and training has led to the development of special sessions of GSAG for these students who do not follow a usual academic cycle due to hospital placements.
We have been fortunate to be recipients of the 2016 Santander Digital fund award, making a wellbeing and fitness tracking app freely available to our students’ later in 2016. We anticipate this will have large uptake, and allow us to bridge the digital divide for some students who may not be able to afford the latest in smartphone or wearable technology like Fitbits to track and assess their lifestyles.
The move towards modern digital engagement through wearable technology is also underpinned by a broader social media engagement plan, an approach to make sport 24/7 like our students. This strategy has seen increased online engagement with our members, through regular events such as BUCS Wednesdays that report and celebrate success on our main accounts each week.
Our sports programmes are backed by Union-wide campaigns, such as our recent #ThisSalfordGirlCan week, an homage to the successful national campaign of a similar name that highlighted the importance of women’s physical fitness and changing attitudes of women towards activity. The week-long event programme offered Salford women students support and free sessions in all aspects of self-care including a netball festival and breast cancer checking support.
Our partnerships are always evolving, and we are proud to be associated with organisations and clubs such as; Sales Sharks, Salford Red Devils, Manchester City, Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, Lancashire County Cricket, Agecroft Rowing Club, Manchester Institute of Health and Performance, Greater Sport Manchester and other notable local services and national governing bodies