Sport and the Community
QMSU Community Sport heads up the Sport Leadership and Workforce Development Programme at Queen Mary, University of London. Through this programme, they develop a workforce of students who perform outreach in the local community of Tower Hamlets, providing many great services and activities to the area.
We spoke to Ashley, Community Sport Coordinator, about the great work that QMSU does for the area and why exactly they do it.
Why is it good to engage in physical activity, and why do you combine this with volunteering?
The benefits of physical activity are widely reported due to the associated physical and mental effects of exercise. As well as improving fitness and increasing strength, exercise also has a positive effect on stress, anxiety, digestion and sleep.
Volunteering has also shown to have a positive impact on wellbeing, with a number of our students deciding to engage with our programme as a method of reducing stress around exam periods and the improved mood associated with giving back to the community.
This programme allows us to combine these through both volunteering in the community and providing opportunities to be physically active. We would encourage anyone seeking to improve their wellbeing to engage in sport – whether that be in a recreational or competitive format, as a volunteer or participant.
What is the community sport programme?
QMSU Community Sport is the Sport Leadership and Workforce Development Programme at Queen Mary University of London. Through the programme, we develop a workforce of student leaders in return for their outreach in the local community of Tower Hamlets.
Since August 2013, our students have logged over 3,400 hours of sport within the local community, engaging a participant throughput of over 26,000 participants with local schools, clubs and community groups! Our offer to students is to increase their employability skills through our free training and CPD opportunities. They benefit from receiving a host of rewards including fully-funded qualifications in return for their involvement in the community.
What kind of outreach do you perform in Tower Hamlets?
As well as assisting coaches and teachers at local sport clubs and schools, our leaders also organise and deliver a number of student-led projects in the community. Student groups who typically come from our sports clubs deliver sessions, tournaments and festivals for school children to participate in.
External funding allows us to provide a platform for students or deliver activities targeting specific focus groups. In the past year, we have delivered inclusive sport sessions for over 30 young people with disabilities thanks to funding from the Co-op Local Community Cause Fund. We plan to grow this and work in a number of schools as well as offering a weekend session that is open to the community!
Funding from Sportivate also allowed us to deliver an 8-week trial of sport mentoring sessions with a local housing association’s youth club. These sessions involved our students leading sport and covering topics such as personal goals, career pathways and academic support. Each Easter and Summer school holiday period, we host the QMSU Sports Camp for young people aged 8-13 where they can participate in up to 15 different sports each week.
In April, we launched CSL Netball which is the first of our Community Sport Leagues for adults to engage in socially with family, friends and colleagues. We are constantly looking for more ways to reach out to the local community and facilitate opportunities to engage in sport. Currently we are developing a social cohesion project to use sport and physical activity as a vehicle to tackle topics such as healthy eating, active lifestyles and gang culture.
We welcome anyone who wishes to know more about what we do at QMSU Community Sport to get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgBack to Stories