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British universities & Colleges Sport
Physical Activity

NGB Participation Programmes

BUCS' vision is to create 'the best university sport experience in the world'. One of the ways we are looking to do this is to support institutions in providing a variety of different opportunities for students beyond BUCS competitions to make sure there really is something for everyone.

Getting involved in a new sport via social sessions or more formalised intramural opportunities is now easier than ever, with universities across the country running more and more social and recreational sport programmes for students.

The BUCS Development Team and Social & Recreational Sport Steering Group are working alongside National Governing Bodies of sport and universities to provide students with the chance to try different sports on a social level whilst at university.

If you are a member of staff at a university interested in developing any of the sporting offers outlined in the Get Involved sections below, please contact the relevant BUCS Development Manager via the contact details available on the respective sports' Get Involved pages.

If you are a student wanting to get involved in any of these sports, make sure you check with your university's sport department, SU or AU first to see if it's already offered and if it's not, let them know you are interested!

If you are an NGB or sports organisation looking to develop a product, programme or initiative within Higher Education institutes across the UK please email Amy Seaman, BUCS Development Manager. 

To find out what offers and programmes are currently available, click on the relevant sport(s) below.

ArcheryArchery GB have a Student Ambassador programme, to provide student volunteers with an opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and experience to support their long-term career development and help the sport develop. To ensure student volunteers have everything they need to make the most of this opportunity, Archery GB will provide a programme of training, mentored support, resources, guidelines, equipment and branded clothing. The aim of the Ambassadors role is to grow and sustain participation in archery and ensure all involve have a positive experience of the sport.

Baseball /Softball - Baseball and Softball offer a broader sports experience for students at university. The social nature of the sports is perfect for the student environment. Baseball Softball UK has a number of opportunities for university students to get involved in the sports including: Hit the Pitch, National University Softball Championships and a National Baseball University Championships.

Basketball - The Basketball Foundation offer an HE Basketball Ambassador (HEBA) programme, focusing on providing student volunteers with unique opportunity to develop skills and experiences to support their long-term career development. The student volunteer is supported to grow and develop basketball within their university, with the aim of the role to increase participation, develop a competition framework and a sustainable workforce in addition to linking participants and workforce into community basketball activity.

Canoeing - British Canoeing have a flexible activity offer on and off the water, there is an opportunity for all abilities to get involved via U-Canoe and Indoor Kayak Racing.

Fencing - British Fencing are working with a number of universities to create an entry level opportunity for students interested in getting into fencing through SABRE:LITE. Part of this offer involves up skilling a student as a University Fencing Officer (UFO).

Football - BUCS have a comprehensive support and development offer to both students and staff including the following: Development Support; internal participation programmes and external community outreach support, Workforce Development, Workforce Opportunities, Enhancing the Profile of Football and Futsal in Higher Education, Funding and Bursary Opportunities.

Gymnastics - British Gymnastics are working with a number universities through the Student Enrichment Programme, aimed at widening the offer and give students the opportunity to try out gymnastics and trampolining.The dedicated Student Officers at universities linked to the programme promote, increase and monitor participation as well as gain access to the 'Gymnastics for All' resources and activities bringing variety to university gymnastics sessions.

Handball -  BUCS are working with England Handball to support the promotion of their small-sided version of the game 'Try Handball'. Try Handball is a small-sided, informal, recreational offer, designed to overcome the lack of full-sized handball facilities and is perfect for students who may be new, or returning to sport.

Hockey - Alongside the traditional 11v11 version of the game, Small Sided Hockey presents Universities and students with a small sided alternative. The Small Sided format is a shorter, faster, more flexible version of the sport - but maintains the core rules and feel or normal 11-a-side Hockey. It's aimed at students who still want their hockey fix but do not wish to play or commit to club hockey, and facilitates playing with friends in mixed or single gender teams in a quick and easy-to-access format.

Kinball UK CIC - SU club/society affiliation- With staff team building, tournaments & festivals, leaders awards, Level 1 coaching / teaching, Kinball is the most inclusive sport you will see, male – female – disabled – non-disabled and all play in the same game. It's fast fun and for everyone. No one person or team can dominate a game, score lines are always close so player motivation is high. For those put off sport by traditional games, Kinball is a great alternative, it’s a great workout and fantastic for wellbeing in being able to play such in inclusive game. 

Netball - There are lots of different ways for universities in England to develop netball, whether that be through being part of the University Netball Officer (UNO) programme to providing Educations and training opportunities for staff and students. An UNO is England Netball’s student activator role with the aim of empowering the students to develop additional opportunities for students to participate in netball that meet student demand. 

Rugby League - Tagged is a minimal contact recreational offer for Rugby League. It is played in a mixed gender format and is ideal for engaging beginners in a social team sport. Tagged can be played indoor and outdoor on either 3g or sand based AstroTurf pitches. You don’t need to have an existing Rugby League offer, 50% of current partner institutes are non Rugby League playing. Tagged is delivered by a team of student activators who will be  provided a bespoke training package.

Rugby Union - In response to demand from universities for an additional tier of rugby competition below the BUCS leagues, BUCS is working in partnership with the RFU to provide additional resource and support in the establishment of new RFU Development Leagues. These local and regional leagues, for universities looking to engage additional players in rugby union.

Squash - England Squash have rolled out a participation programme, Squash 101 across the HE sector. As part of this, training workshops are being delivered for university students to empower them to deliver the sessions this autumn. Squash 101 sessions are run by a leader who puts participants through their paces with fun, challenging activities, together with like-minded players. The sessions are fun, informal and different every week - social fitness at its best!

Tchoukball - Combining the pace and excitement of handball and volleyball, Tchoukball is the fastest handball sport in the world today. The fundamental aim of the game is to throw or 'shoot' the ball at the frame, so that it rebounds and lands over the line of the D in the court. The opposition's job is to catch the ball to prevent their opponents scoring and then shoot it themselves. Tchoukball is a mixed gender sport, which has men and women competing on the same team under the same rules. Tchoukball is the perfect sport for social activity and can provide a multitude of outlets to your institution, from participation, coaching, officiating and volunteering. Already working with Leeds Beckett University, University of Southampton and the University of Portsmouth, they’d love to work with you next.

Tennis -  BUCS is working in partnership with the Tennis Foundation to increase the number of playing opportunities for students within the HE sector. The Tennis Foundation currently fund University Tennis Co-ordinators (UTCs) in different institutions across the country. This programme has created additional opportunities for students to play, compete, and receive coaching and training to develop their tennis skills.

Volleyball -  Volleyball England's HEVO programme utilises volunteer student in a host institutions to deliver a yearlong action plan. The programme offers support in the recruitment and deployment of a HEVO to lead and coordinate the development of volleyball at the host university. They will encourage new participants to the sport and ensure a quality experience for all players, regardless of their ability.  

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