All eyes on the goal as £465,000 student sport development fund announced at Edinburgh College

Students at Scotland’s colleges and universities will soon have more and even better opportunities to get involved in sport, thanks to a £465,000 investment announced at Edinburgh College.

The Scottish Government money will be made available to Scottish Student Sport (SSS) through the Scottish Funding Council. SSS was established in 2011 and works with colleges and universities to promote physical activity and provide sports opportunities. There are currently over 600 student sports clubs in Scotland, covering more than seventy sports. This new funding will be used to further extend and develop sport at every campus in the country as part of an ambitious four year plan.

Included in the plan is a focus on ensuring that students in both colleges and universities can access the best facilities available to them. The initiative also wants to harness sport as a way of making students more involved with their college or university, reducing the chances of them dropping out and enhancing their overall student experience.

Announcing the funding at Edinburgh College, Shirley-Anne Somerville, minister for further education, higher education and science, said: “Sport and physical activity has a hugely positive impact on a person’s health and wellbeing and, as a government, we are committed to helping people establish lifelong habits of sports participation and fitness.

“Scottish Student Sport research also shows that being involved in college or university sport can increase student engagement and support retention rates.

“That is why I‘m pleased to be able to announce this investment of nearly half a million pounds going directly to student sport.

“It is important that we are able to maximize the facilities on offer to both college and university students and I welcome the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Student Sport’s commitment to ensuring that students in both colleges and universities will be able to access the best facilities available to them in Scotland.”

Stew Fowlie, chief operating officer at Scottish Student Sport, said: “We are delighted to receive such strong support from SFC – helping us to build a world class system for physical activity and sport – much to the benefit of Scotland’s students. Alongside our significant support from sportscotland, this investment will allow us  to make our ambitious plan for the future of student sport a vibrant reality.”

Edinburgh College Principal Annette Bruton said: “Sport can have many wonderful benefits for young people and we’re proud about the strong sporting culture we have at Edinburgh College and across the college sector. We know that participating in sports is great for physical and mental wellbeing, but it also has all kinds of other positive lessons. From promoting teamwork and collaboration to creativity and problem solving, sport can give students attributes that will help them succeed in their careers and their lives.

“This backing is so important as it will enable us to develop college sports further over the coming years and support more students to get involved and benefit from healthy activity.”

John Kemp, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “We have been involved with Scottish Student Sport since it was set up seven years ago. It’s an energetic and forward-looking organisation and is making a real difference. I look forward to seeing the impact of the ambitious plans we all have for student sport over the next four years.”