We've won the Diversity and Inclusion Award at this year's BUCS Awards! For over 100 years, British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) has been at the forefront of university sport in the UK
These awards celebrate the positive effect of student sport on university life, the students who participate, and the wider sporting sector in the UK. We're very proud to be shortlisted for the Diversity and Inclusion Award. Below we share what we’ve been doing in TeamUCL this year to embed diversity and inclusion in everything we do.
TeamUCL Disability Sport
We received Sport England funding to deliver our TeamUCL Disability Sport Plan covering:
- A new weekly wheelchair basketball session
- A new partnership with UCL Disability Services, where referrals are made directly to TeamUCL programmes.
- Fitness Sessions for Disabled Students, where disabled students can access up to 5 free personal training sessions in our gym
- The launch of quiet hours in our gym, to support students who are impacted by sensory overload
- The delivery of pilot sessions with TeamUCL Barbell on our Men’s Health active listening group, combining sport with counselling support for male students. This is due to launch in full next academic year
- Wheelchair basketball engaged 35 students, 40% define as disabled, including 3 wheelchair users
- Fitness Sessions for Disabled Students programme has offered 20 individuals, 54 hours of personal training since its launch in November.
‘The programme has benefited my mental health as it has allowed me some time to not think about University stress. After attending the sessions, I feel more courageous to go to the gym alone’
- A significant increase of disabled students accessing our sport programmes; 120% increase on 2019-20.
Student feedback told us cost was one of the prohibitive factors in students with disabilities and those from BAME backgrounds taking part in sport at UCL. In October we launched our Participation Fund, a small grant pot designed to break down financial barriers to activity.
Applications to the fund are made confidentially via a Students’ Union advisor, which ensures anonymity from the sport staff and officer team, removing any stigma of applying.
Since its launch this year we have granted £3,960 to 29 applicants to cover costs ranging from transport support, to adaptive equipment and modest swimwear. Due to its success, the grant pot has been increased to £6,000 for next academic year.
The impact of this fund has been significant in a way we didn’t anticipate. The draw of support for sport has taken new students into our advice service, where in a number of cases our advice team were able to alert the students to other funding streams they were eligible for, like carers’ allowances or university hardship funds.
Project Active is our participation programme to engage under-represented student groups in physical activity. We focus on postgraduate students and women, particularly women from BAME backgrounds.
Alongside our ongoing women’s-only hours in the gym and our weekly timetable of women’s-only classes, this year we delivered our most successful This Girl Can Week ever.
So far this year, we engaged 1,762 students with 38.04% of participants classed as inactive before they signed up.
- 77% are women
- 56% are from BAME backgrounds
The engagement for our This Girl Can Week were our highest ever
- 459 attendees
- 361 had not previously engaged with Project Active
- 241 were not members of a Sports Club
This year, with the support of BUCS Active funding, we launched our intra-mural sport programme. A primary aim of this project was to increase opportunities for community building within UCL, particularly amongst our many fantastic cultural societies.
The project was one of the most successful on the BUCS Active 4 programme.
In Year 1 of in-person delivery we engaged ~500 students across 6 sports. Several cultural/faith-based societies took part, including African-Caribbean Society, Hindu Society, Pakistan Society, Sikh Society, Malayali Society and Indian Society. ACS Netball were our inaugural TeamUCL league champions and this is what they had to say...
TeamUCL against hate
Our elected sports officers launched a new campaign this year, TeamUCL against hate. The student-driven campaign is designed to unify the TeamUCL community with the aims of:
- Actively seeking to prevent all forms of bullying, harassment and discrimination on the basis of any of the protected characteristics.
- Actively promoting equity and inclusion within each sports club and the wider TeamUCL community
- Actively developing talent from underrepresented groups
- A new inclusivity accreditation scheme encouraging clubs to deliver their sport in a way that welcomes all students, with specific focus on challenging negative behaviours and celebrating diversity
- A Black History month panel event chaired by the sports officers. Black students shared positive & negative experiences of sport so club leaders could learn and reflect to make their club environments more inclusive
- Pride in TeamUCL- clubs arranged fixtures with local LGBT+ community clubs to form new partnerships and player exit routes
The winners will be announced at the BUCS conference on 6 July 2022.