Press Release

23 June 2014

Students at Canterbury Christ Church University will have more chances to play sport thanks to 295,000 pounds of National Lottery funding from Sport England's University Sport Activation Fund.

The university is one of 54 universities to benefit from nearly £10 million of funding to help get nearly 180,000 new students playing sport. It will use the funding to launch PlaySport, a programme that will offer students and staff opportunities for regular, continued engagement in sport aimed at increasing participation rates and creating a sporting habit.

PlaySport will build on the success of TrySport by providing longer term opportunities for engagement to increase the number of people who participate in sport once per week to 65% over the next three years. PlaySport has been designed to address the specific participation issues across the campus network at Christ Church and will adopt a targeted approach to increasing participation through working with identified student groups. PlaySport will also work in partnership with a range of partners to provide accessible sporting opportunities that extend beyond academic term time. For the first time in the provision of sport, Canterbury Christ Church University will work with the University of Kent to enhance the sporting offer to students.

Paul Carney, Director of Sport at the university, said: “This Lottery funding will have a significant impact on sport at the University and means we will be able to provide a comprehensive and inclusive sports participation programme for all university students.

“Having consulted with students across our campuses, through PlaySport we will be able to provide a broad range of activities which we hope will inspire students to start and enjoy sport and maintain their participation.”

“We believe the PlaySport project will positively influence the health and well-being of our students, and importantly, will help us build a legacy for sport participation for the future.”

Currently just over half (52%) of higher education students take part in sport at least once a week. The funding will support projects to not only maintain this level of participation but also increase it by trialling new methods of getting students into sport and offering a wider variety of opportunities to keep them playing sport during their time at university. The projects will particularly concentrate on those that do not currently play. It will also help tackle the issue of many young people giving up sport in their late teens and early twenties.

Sport England Director of Community Sport, Mike Diaper, said: “We know universities play a vital role in maintaining and growing a student’s love of sport. They can encourage them to continue playing once they’ve left school or help those less sporty discover a new sport. By investing in Canterbury Christ Church University we’re helping students develop a lifelong sporting habit while they study.”

Karen Rothery, Chief Executive of British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), said: “Universities have really risen to the challenge to increase sport participation, firstly through Active Universities, and now through the University Sport Activation Fund. We at BUCS are delighted that our work with Sport England over the past five years has resulted in such a success story, and are confident that we will continue to enhance the student experience through sport in many creative ways throughout the life of the University Sport Activation Fund delivery.”

The latest funding for university sport builds on Sport England’s highly successful three year ‘Active Universities’ programme which delivering a 2 per cent rise in the number of students playing sport regularly at the 41 university projects we invested in.

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 94% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2013 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2011/12 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

For more information, please contact Paul Carney, Director of Sport, 01227 78 2877,

Sport England is focused on helping people and communities across the country create a sporting habit for life. We will invest over £1 billion of National Lottery and Exchequer funding between 2012 and 2017 in organisations and projects that will:

  • Help more people have a sporting habit for life
  • Create more opportunities for young people to play sport
  • Nurture and develop talent
  • Provide the right facilities in the right places
  • Support local authorities and unlock local funding
  • Ensure real opportunities for communities.

The National Lottery has been changing lives for 18 years.  Every week National Lottery players raise over £30 million to help change people's lives across the UK.


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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:16:00