At Durham we believe that University sport has a pivotal role to play within the community, and consequently the impact we have in the locality, the region and internationally is very important to us.
The University Sport programme now engages with all 47 local Durham schools and all of the city's major clubs.
Our involvement is increasingly rewarding; over 100 students volunteer to coach within schools on an annual basis, whilst approximately 2000 children are presented with the opportunity to use the University's sporting facilities each year.
However it is perhaps the role that these partnerships play beyond sport that is most important, with the aspirations of children increasing as a direct result of exposure to the University and regular access to current university students.
The Sport Programme at Durham University is based upon the three core strands of Participation, Performance and Community. In the last five years it is the latter of these areas that has completely changed the face of our work within sport.
Whilst our work with schools and local clubs has gained in strength and numbers, it is the work we do with disadvantaged groups that has completely changed our programme. In particular our work with the homeless, looked after children, substance misuse clients, vulnerable women and youth offenders has reshaped our thinking and our strategy.
Whilst we feel that by providing sporting activities we are helping make a difference to people’s lives within our community, we see the opportunities that we offer our students, partaking in this programme, as being crucial to our role as a university. The programme allows our students to take a more rounded view of the society that they live in and it remains debatable as to who gains the most from our community work; our clients or our students.Dr. Peter Warburton, Dean of Experience, Durham
Team Durham has also established an outstanding reputation with regard to broader outreach work.
Sport can impact positively upon well being and individual development in many different ways and as Peter Warbuton said, we now have sport programmes working with drug rehabilitation clients, disengaged adolescent young girls, vulnerable women, homeless, looked after children and youth offenders.
Multi-skill sport programmes are adopted in consultation with client groups and are delivered with the objective of facilitating the development of a series of generic skills that serve to benefit the clients in their normal every day life.
Perhaps the best example of this programme in action is the Second Chance Football initiative. Clients train in eight week blocks followed by a local tournament which leads to a regional final. Over the last two years, seventy clients have been involved in the programme, whilst over forty students have assisted in the delivery of the project. During this time period six clients have attained their FA Level 1 coaching award, and the majority have benefited from the development of their self worth and specific skills such as team work, leadership and self discipline.
The work of the department with me personally is really good. It is helpful and keeps me out of trouble and gives me the oppurtunities I need. They do their best to help, and always give you so many options to choose from in each session. They supply me with a good meal in addition, and it is a day I always look forward to. I've been away on a break for a few months but I've come back because it is so beneficial to me.Nathan Forbes, Team Durham Community client