September 21, 2015, by Mike Munro

Introducing Welfare in Sport

Students’ Union officers James Bramley (Sports) and Sarah Pickup (Welfare and Equal Opportunities) provide an introduction to the Welfare in Sport initiative:

Last year we launched Welfare in Sport at The University of Nottingham. The overall aim of the project is to: help raise awareness of mental health issues within members of sports clubs, remove barriers for students participating in sport, and to provide a platform for sports clubs at UoN to improve welfare support for all their members.

Every individual, whether they are involved in sport or not, has mental health. And as Mike Daiper, Sport England’s Director of Community Sport, correctly points out “there is compelling evidence that participation in sport and physical activity has a positive influence on mental wellbeing and mental illness”.

Thirty-nine per cent of students at The University of Nottingham experience emotional difficulty during their time at University and many of them are involved in sports clubs. With numbers so high, it’s imperative we improve the welfare offer for students involved in sport.

What have we done so far?

On the 15th of June 2015, the campaign was successfully launched with attendance and testimonies from James Austin (GB Judo) and Ed Tarlton (alumnus student and footballer). Current staff and students from many of our Club Committee were also in attendance. The event was incredibly popular with clubs in attendance stating how they plan to improve the welfare support within their clubs through signing pledge boards. For example:

  • Table Tennis: Pledged to introduce a Welfare Officer to their committee to ensure members know who to speak to if they have any welfare issues.
  • Hockey (Males and Females): Pledged to introduce Hockey Families. A scheme that actively promotes connections across year groups by joining up members from each club to ensure new members have a senior member directly responsible for helping them settle into the club.
  • Ladies Football: Pledged to maintain the IMS pathway ensuring members of all abilities can be part of their club.

Each Club Development Coordinator has now completed a mental health First Aid course run by Student Minds. Having completed this two day course, they are now trained to deliver mental health First Aid training to Club Committees. This enables senior club members to deal with issues relating to mental health with confidence and will help them recognise the early signs of mental health issues.

Over the last month we have increased the number of clubs committing to the campaign from 18 to 30, with many more clubs expressing an interest in joining.

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Plans for the future

By the end of the academic year, we hope for all 72 sports clubs to join the campaign and take pledges to improve the welfare support in their clubs. Therefore no matter what sport you are interested in, committed to or hoping to try – we can guarantee the support will be there.

Following this, our Club Development Coordinators will be delivering mental health First Aid training to all Club Committees. This will ensure Club Committees are equipped to support all of their members in any issue they are faced with, and beyond that, increase accessibility for all students wanting to participate in sport.

We’re excited to see how the campaign progresses over the next year. As we begin to see more students enjoy and participate in sport here at Nottingham, and to see more students feel more supported and welcomed within their sporting community no matter what they are experiencing.

As a Students Union, we pledge to further the amazing work of this project. For all our students. For Welfare in Sport.

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