Sport England’s new Strategy ‘Towards an Active Nation’ puts tackling inactivity at the heart of what they do. As part of this initiative Sport England is investing £5 million into projects in colleges that will support their inactive students into regular activity.
Sport England research found:
- Nearly 1/5 (roughly 138,000) college students are inactive i.e. do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week as per England’s Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations. Nearly 2/3 of the inactive group do nothing at all [i]
- Students who go to college are more inactive than students who go to sixth form or university.[ii]
- Being active can make a big difference to everyone’s health: 1 in 6 adults in the UK die as a result of being inactive.
HRC will be focusing on engaging students from subject areas that can lead to sedentary careers with the campaign “Active Destination”. As well as health and wellbeing, the project will also aim to improve students’ employability skills, including teamwork and leadership. To encourage involvement, Sean Pasque, Project Lead and Sports Development Officer at HRC, shares that “we are taking activities into the departments which will ensure students feel more comfortable due to the familiarity of their surroundings”.
Individual students will also be appointed as Student Activators to encourage their classmates to get involved. Sean adds that “at the college we are passionate about giving students a voice to promote ideas and our Student Activators will have the abilities to suggest activities and market the events themselves”. Lizzie Malessy, an IT and Games Development learner, is proud to be the first Student Activator. She shares how important she believes it is “that we all take part or somehow incorporate activity in our lifestyles. Having a physical spark at work can help you get to the top of your career and communication skills create healthy relationships that will help you succeed”.
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.
Mike Diaper, Executive Director of Community Sport said:
“We are delighted to offer Hertford Regional College National Lottery funding to help get students active. 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.”
About Sport England
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.
[i] Sport England’s Active Lives survey (November 2015/2016) found that nearly 1/5 (18%) of 16-18 year old college students are inactive, and out of this inactive group, just under 2/3 (64%) do nothing at all.
There are currently 744,000 college students in England aged 16-18 according to the Association of Colleges 2016.
138,000 (18%) of them are currently inactive i.e. do less than 30 minutes of exercise a week. Of those who are inactive, 86,000 (64%) do nothing at all.
[ii] Sport England’s Active Lives survey (November 2015/2016) found that 13% of 16+ year olds in school sixth form were inactive. 12% of 16+ year olds in higher education were inactive and 20% of 16+ year olds in colleges are inactive.