October 6, 2014, by Giselle Kennedy
Become a sports hero through the Any-buddy Scheme
This week we shine the spotlight on the small but perfectly formed Any-Buddy Scheme which has been running at The University of Nottingham for just over four years now. The scheme aims to pair up disabled and non-disabled students with sports buddies who have similar interests to them. We asked the convenor of the scheme, Disability Sport Officer, Hannah Webber, to explain how the scheme works and why it’s such a great extracurricular activity to get involved with. Over to Hannah:
We came up with the idea for the buddy scheme, after running focus groups with the Disabled Students’ Network. A lot of the students that we spoke to told us that one of the key barriers for them engaging with sport and physical activity, was that they didn’t have anyone to go with.
The Scheme does just what it says on the tin; we provide sports buddies for students. We ask buddies to commit to between 2 – 3 hours per week during term time and provide them with training and support throughout the academic year.
The scheme is a module within the Nottingham Advantage Award and it offers students the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge across a number of areas, as one of our Award winning buddies Amy Shuttleworth talks about below:
“I think the Any-Buddy Scheme is one of the most beneficial schemes the University offers. It allows buddy volunteers to be creative in their approach to sport and encourages them to find different ways to keep the exercises interesting. The scheme is also dependent on good organisation skills and effective communication skills, both of which are relevant in all walks of life. The Any-Buddy Scheme strengthens these skills considerably.”
The buddies work with students at various different levels of participation. Amy worked with a couple of students who wanted to access the gym and go jogging. By contrast, Tom Jervis, worked with Thomas Green in the strength and conditioning room and the training field. Both Tom’s talk about their experiences in this video. For his commitment as a sports buddy, Tom Jervis went on to win the Student Volunteer Centre’s “Outstanding Volunteer Award“. He also won the Barclays Nottingham Advantage Award’s prize for his outstanding leadership skills which he helped to develop through the Any-buddy Scheme.
The scheme and the work that the buddies do, truly has a positive impact on the lives of the students that they work with. One of the students who made use of the scheme for two years sent us a heart-warming email which illustrated this:
“Being paired up with a buddy and getting more exercise done has made such a big difference to my life at University. I’m really keen to keep up the exercise and take it further. A big thank you for all the support – I couldn’t have got through this year without it.”
If you’re interested in sports buddying you can find out more about the scheme by contacting the University’s Disability Sport Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the website. Applications for the scheme are open until Friday 17 October, 5pm.