Through the Department for Education (DFE) funding, we have been able to develop a strong relationship with the Higher Education (HE) sector in Lancashire, particularly with the Sports & Wellbeing department at UCLAN.
We have worked closely with Chris Gunn (Lecturer at Uclan) to develop a programme in conjunction with the School Games programme to allow Year 2 Sports students to assist with the delivery of Level 2 & 3 School Games events.
Providing volunteering opportunities that enhanced the knowledge of students and created exposure to competitive and school based sport was integral to the success of Active Lancashire, Uclan and the SGO’s partnership.
This partnership working was prevalent in the Level 3 Boys Handball competition. Tim Fletcher, School Games Organiser for Heysham said: “This year was the first year Lancashire School Games Handball was hosted at Uclan, and it was fantastic. SGO’s, Uclan staff member Chris Gunn, England Handball Co-ordinator Andy Clark and Active Lancashire all working collaboratively to deliver a very successful sports event.”
To allow students to flourish whilst volunteering and supporting the Handball competition, training was required. Chris Gunn said: “The initiative involved UCLan students being trained in handball scoring, playing and officiating, enabling them to acquire official certification before working at the Lancashire schools handball finals in February 2018. It was an extremely successful event with over two hundred secondary school pupils enjoying this occasion and twenty UCLan sports students gaining invaluable experience.”
Tim added: “They took on roles including; umpiring, assistant umpiring, scoring, team management and results. Andy Clark delivered a Handball course to the leaders that gave them the skills and knowledge to perform at a very high standard.”
Utilising the DfE funding to up-skill University students has been very successful and will be something we’ll look to continue in the future. Handball’s popularity in Lancashire is soaring within Schools and the Satellite Clubs that have been created. This will allow the cohort of students that have been trained as England Handball Young leaders to support external Handball events in Lancashire.
Working in partnership with Uclan has been hugely beneficial and provided a dual benefit. The students have learnt new skills, gained experience and qualifications. And the School Games programme in particular the Handball Boys Competition ran smoothly and efficiently with the support of the students.